So I guess we should talk about this now:
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Text messages I have obtained, an exclusive interview with the victim and other information I have learned shows Ohio State coach Urban Meyer knew in 2015 of domestic abuse allegations against a member of his coaching staff.
Courtney Smith, ex-wife of fired Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith, provided text messages between her and the wives of Ohio State coaches – including Urban Meyer’s wife, Shelley – showing Meyer’s knowledge of the situation.
Meyer said last week during Big Ten Media Days that he had no knowledge of two alleged domestic violence incidents in 2015 with former assistant wide receivers coach Zach Smith that were investigated by the Powell (Ohio) Police Department.
Meyer said had he known, he would have fired Smith in 2015 – three years before he did last week after I reported the alleged domestic violence.
If you haven't been following this story, it goes like this:
- Earle Bruce has a child, who has a son in turn. This person gets named "Zach Smith."
- Smith listens to "Bawitdaba" nonstop for 28 years.
- Smith gets hired at Ohio State because nepotism and proceeds to go on a series of childish rants on twitter. His coaching acumen appears to consist of yelling "hashtag zone six!" at his charges, who respond by dropping balls so emphatically their hands also fall off.
- Smith has a series of domestic violence charges during this period starting in 2009, when he threw his pregnant wife into a wall, with additional police involvement in 2015 and this year.
- Reporter Brett McMurphy exposes Smith shortly before Big Ten Media days, prompting a series of questions from reporters to Meyer; according to Courtney Smith, Zach's ex-wife, Meyer lied about his knowledge of the situation.
- Smith gets fired.
The above article is damning and should be read in its entirety. Smith's abuse was scary and persistent; a text exchange between Courtney Smith and Shelley Meyer asks whether Smith has a restraining order—which is read as obviously necessary—and says "he scares me."
Unless Urban Meyer can make the case that his wife decided not to tell him about the years of abuse Courtney Smith was enduring—and that every OSU coach's wife made the same decision—this is a case of an institution knowingly employing a serial abuser. This isn't against the law. It's not against NCAA rules. It should be unacceptable in the court of public opinion, and you'd hope that would be enough to drum other folks out of their jobs up to and including Meyer.
I'm skeptical this will happen. OSU was readying a full-throated defense of Jim Tressel ("I just hope he doesn't fire me") when it became clear that directly lying to the NCAA four times would inevitably result in a show-cause that would terminate Tressel whether OSU wanted to or not. Without a similar sword hanging over OSU's neck*, their choice is to either disrupt their football golden era or follow the example that Meyer provided—downplay, hide, dismiss, survive. I got a dollar on the second playbook.
*[McMurphy thinks there might be Title IX issues. As we've seen at MSU—why are our rivals all so awful—those take years and rarely touch the levers of power.]