(NEW YORK) — Former Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith delivered a bombshell during an exclusive interview with ESPN when he said that head coach Urban Meyer did, in fact, know about allegations that he’d abused his then-wife in 2015.
Zach Smith said Friday that Meyer not only knew knew about the allegations but had also asked him about them.
“He said, ‘What the hell is going on? What is this? What is this?’ And I told him, I laid it all out for him. I said, ‘Apparently my ex-wife is trying to get me charged with domestic abuse,'” Zach Smith said Friday.
Zach Smith said Meyer said to him: “He looked at me and said, ‘I swear to God, Zach, if I find out you hit her, you’re done. You’re fired.'”
In the interview, Zach Smith said he’d never hit Courtney Smith.
“There was aggression in the relationship but anything I ever did to her was a defensive action,” Zach Smith said. “All I know is I never hit my wife. I never hit her. I never beat her. Nothing.”
Courtney Smith, however, said in an interview with Stadium, a sports network, on Wednesday that Zach Smith had been abusing her as early as 2009.
“He picked me up by the neck and threw me down on the ground in our bathroom, and screamed at me, ‘Look what you turned me into,'” she said in that interview.
Meyer had previously denied any knowledge of the allegations.
“I was never told about anything. … I never had a conversation about it so I know nothing about that,” he said on July 24 during Big Ten Media Days.
However, in a statement posted to Twitter Friday, Meyer said he’d “failed” when he made those remarks.
“My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or misleading,” he said, in part. “However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize.”
On Wednesday, Ohio State placed Meyer on administrative leave after Courtney Smith claimed that he knew about domestic abuse allegations levied against Zach Smith.
In the interview with Stadium, Courtney Smith said she believed that Meyer knew about the allegations. She also said that she’d shared photos of bruises from the alleged abuse with Meyer’s wife, Ohio State nursing instructor Shelley Meyer, and asked her to tell her husband. Courtney Smith said Shelley Meyer agreed to notify her husband, although she never confirmed whether she did.
Zach Smith was fired from Ohio State in July after he was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass during a dispute with Courtney Smith.
The university opened an investigation into Courtney Smith’s claims on Wednesday and said offensive coordinator Ryan Day would act as head football coach during the probe.
“We are focused on supporting our players and on getting to the truth as expeditiously as possible,” the university said in a statement.
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