Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer has been placed on paid administrative leave during a university investigation into allegations that he knew about a 2015 domestic abuse incident involving a then-assistant coach, the school announced in a statement Wednesday evening. Ryan Day is set to serve as the acting head coach during the investigation.
“We are focused on supporting our players and on getting to the truth as expeditiously as possible,” the statement read.
The decision came after a report surfaced stating that individuals close to Meyer, including his wife, Shelley, had been aware of domestic abuse allegations against then-assistant coach Zach Smith in 2015. Meyer denied being aware of those allegations at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago on July 24.
Meyer noted that he had been aware of a 2009 domestic violence incident involving Smith and his then-Wife, Courtney Smith, while Meyer was the head coach at Florida and Zach Smith was a coaching intern on his staff. Ahead of Big Ten Media Days, reports surfaced regarding both the 2009 and 2015 incidents after Courtney Smith filed for a protective order against her ex-husband.
Zach Smith was fired by Meyer on July 23 after the reports surfaced.
On Wednesday, college football writer Brett McMurphy reported that he had attained an exclusive interview with Courtney Smith, as well as text messages between her and Shelley Meyer. In a separate interview with WatchStadium.com, Courtney Smith noted that Shelley Meyer had never told her Urban Meyer had been notified of the incident.
Zach Smith is the grandson of the late Earle Bruce, a former Ohio State head coach and a longtime mentor to Urban Meyer.
In a statement, Meyer noted that he and athletic director Gene Smith agreed that the decision to place him on administrative leave was in the best interest of the team.
“Gene and I agree that being on leave during this inquiry will facilitate its completion,” Meyer said in a statement. “This allows the team to conduct training camp with minimal distraction. I eagerly look forward to the resolution of this matter.”
Ohio State is scheduled to open fall camp Friday afternoon ahead of what would be Meyer’s seventh season as the head coach of the Buckeyes.
Day was elevated to offensive coordinator during the offseason after serving as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last year.