Ohio State suspended the head coach of their football team, Urban Meyer, on Wednesday for three games following a two-week long investigation that found that the football coach mishandled domestic assault allegations made against former assistant coach Zach Smith and misrepresented what he knew about the situation in a public statement in July.
Meyer’s suspension will be without pay and disallows him from interacting with the football team through Sept. 2. He can rejoin the team at that point, but he will not be able to coach in games against Oregon State, Rutgers and No. 16 TCU.
“I followed my heart and not my head,” Meyer said in a news conference. “… I gave Zach Smith the benefit of the doubt.”
“Although neither Urban Meyer nor Gene Smith condoned or covered up the alleged domestic abuse by Zach Smith, they failed to take sufficient management action relating to Zach Smith’s misconduct and retained an Assistant Coach who was not performing as an appropriate role model for OSU student-athletes,” the school said in a statement outlining the investigation’s findings. “Permitting such misconduct to continue is not consistent with the values of the University and reflects poorly on Coach Meyer, Athletic Director Smith, and the University. Their handling of this matter did not exhibit the kind of leadership and high standards that we expect of our Athletic Director, Head Coach, Assistant Coaches and all on the football staff.”
Ohio State initially placed Meyer on paid administrative leave Aug. 1, shortly after Courtney Smith, Zach Smith’s ex-wife, said in an interview with Stadium that she believed Meyer knew that her ex-husband was abusing her in 2015. Meyer fired Zach Smith on July 23 after a pattern of past allegations of abuse came to light in a report by college football reporter Brett McMurphy.