OSU Releases Investigative Report, Coach Meyer Suspended

OSU’s independent investigation of Urban Meyer has found that he allowed unacceptable behavior by former wide receiver coach Zach Smith and didn’t notify the school about Smith’s issues.

OSU Releases Investigative Report, Coach Meyer Suspended

Coach Meyer allowed Zach Smith's unacceptable behavior for years before firing him in July. Image: iStock.com/sshepard

A 23-page investigative report released by Ohio State University (OSU) found that football head coach Urban Meyer allowed bad behavior from his former wide receiver coach Zach Smith for years.

The report was released after the school’s decision last week to suspend Meyer for the first three games of the season went public, reports CSB Sports.

In 2009, Smith was arrested for aggravated battery on his then-pregnant wife. He was arrested by Gainesville Police Dept., following a 911 call by Courtney Smith.

According to the report, Meyer failed to inform others of Smith’s arrest prior to his hiring. He said he felt no obligations since Smith was never charged.

The investigation committee said of Smith, “We identified a pattern of troubling behavior by Zach Smith: promiscuous and embarrassing sexual behavior, drug abuse, truancy, dishonesty, financial irresponsibility, a possible NCAA violation, and a lengthy police investigation into allegations of criminal domestic violence and cybercrimes.”

Smith’s checking account statement shows charges at a Miami strip club while on a recruiting trip. Meyer, aware of the situation, gave Smith a warning and added a morality clause to the 2014 Coach’s Manual.

Another investigation against Zach Smith took place in 2015 for possible domestic violence against his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. Meyer did not feel obligated to report the incident because there were no charges or arrest.

The report found that throughout his divorce in 2015, [Zach] Smith frequently missed or was late to meetings and practices. Again, Meyer responded to the behavior with a warning.

A text message from Shelley Meyer to her husband was also included in the report. It read, “He drinks a lot and I am just not sure how stable he will be. Afraid he will do something dangerous. It’s obvious he has anger/rage issues already.” Coach Meyer did not respond.

The committee continues in their report, “[Zach] Smith’s conduct was met with reprimands and warnings by Coach Meyer, but never a written report, never an investigation and no disciplinary action until July 23, 2018.”

Rick Neuheisel, former UCLA coach and CBS analyst, believes the Meyer’s light punishment (a three-game suspension) correlates with his 73-8 record at OSU, according to AP News.

“The rules are not the same for everybody. That’s no secret. That fact that Urban has been so good in terms of win-loss over the years certainly played in,” said Neuheisel.

Meyer publicly announced that he regrets his decisions regarding Smith’s allegations.

“My awareness of domestic violence and how serious it is whenever you hear that kind of accusation absolutely has changed,” he said. “I will be very cautious.”

More than 40 witnesses were interviewed for the report, and over 60,000 electronic documents and 10,000 pages of text messages were accessed and reviewed.

Key witnesses include Coach Meyer, Gene Smith (OSU’s athletic director), Zach Smith and his ex-wife, Courtney Smith.

To read the entire OSU report, click here.

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About the Author


Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.

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