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Urban Meyer releases statement clarifying media coverage

Urban Meyer speaks at a press conference as he fields questions about his handling of the Zach Smith domestic abuse allegations on Aug. 22, 2018. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer released a statement Friday clarifying statements he believes the media has made regarding the outcome of the investigation on Aug. 22.

Meyer said in the statement he was not suspended because he knew about alleged domestic violence made by former assistant coach Zach Smith.

The Ohio State head coach referenced what the lead investigator said stated at the press conference announcing his suspension, saying “Coach Meyer impressed us with sincere commitment to the Respect for Women core value that he espouses.” He also referenced that the Board believed, in its findings, that Meyer would have fired Smith if he believed he committed domestic violence against his wife.

Meyer reiterated that he did not lie at Big Ten Media Days. He referenced the investigative report, which stated Meyer was not part of “a deliberate cover-up” for keeping Smith on the coaching staff.

He also said “his fault was not in taking action sooner” against Smith and his “work-related issues.”

Meyer said he and athletic director Gene Smith knew about “multiple examples of inappropriate conduct” while Zach Smith was on staff, but that both Meyer and Smith went too far in trying to help the former assistant coach in “allowing him to remain as an employee in the face of repeated misconduct.”

Ohio State, in a statement given to The Lantern, reiterated what president Michael Drake said in the statement announcing Meyer’s suspension.

“Based upon the independent investigation, I want to state clearly that we believe Urban Meyer did not and does not condone domestic abuse,” Drake said. “However, he did fail to take sufficient management action regarding Zach Smith — and he was not as complete and accurate at media days and did not uphold the high standards and values of the university on that day.”

Meyer was suspended by the university for the first three games of the season. Meyer will be allowed to return to the team on Sept. 2 to coach Ohio State during the week leading up to the games he is suspended in.

Smith was fired from the university on July 23 for the domestic violence allegations made against him by ex-wife Courtney Smith.

Updated at 4:34 with statement from Ohio State. 

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