Former Ohio State wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith was due Friday at 9:30 a.m. in Delaware (Ohio) Municipal Court for a hearing on a domestic violence civil protection order filed July 20 by Courtney Smith. However, court records show that he and his ex-wife have had their hearing postponed to Sept. 14 at 9 a.m.
Ohio State fired Zach Smith on July 23 after a report earlier in the morning from Brett McMurphy revealed that Courtney Smith had filed the civil protection order. McMurphy’s report also uncovered allegations of Zach Smith’s past domestic violence from documented incidents with Courtney Smith in 2009 and 2015. Three days after Ohio State terminated Zach Smith, it bumped quality control coach Brian Hartline to interim wide receivers coach and elevated graduate assistant Corey Dennis to a senior quality control position.
Allegations of Zach Smith’s past domestic violence came to light five days after his filed arrest on a criminal trespassing charge from a May 12 incident with Courtney Smith went public. He pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge but was due in court July 18 at 2 p.m. According to personal attorney Brad Koffel, Zach Smith’s hearing was delayed to a later date after the prosecutor was without a copy of the shared-parenting plan. Court records show that Zach Smith’s hearing was postponed to Aug. 22 at 1 p.m.
Koffel told ESPN’s Dan Murphy that Zach Smith would tell his side of the story in court.
“Zach Smith wants to be as transparent and honest as possible but it is not going to be done today through the media,” Koffel said Wednesday. “It will only be after he and his ex-wife are sworn in to testify. Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls.”
In his morning and afternoon availabilities July 24 at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said he was aware of the 2009 incident in Gainesville, Fla., but unaware of the 2015 dispute in Powell, Ohio. Asked multiple times about the 2015 incident, Meyer denied any knowledge of it.
“I can’t say what happened,” Meyer said. “I wasn’t there. I was never told about anything, (until) anything came to light (July 23). I never had a conversation about it, so I know nothing about it.”
However, Courtney Smith’s account in separate interviews published Wednesday with McMurphy and Stadium claimed that she told Meyer’s wife, Shelley, about the 2015 incident. Although Courtney Smith was ultimately unable to confirm whether or not Shelley Meyer then told her husband about it, Courtney Smith said she believed that Urban Meyer knew.
“He never spoke to me about the physical abuse, but he had made a couple comments to me and we had had a couple conversations, very brief, ‘How are you guys doing? Everything OK?'” Courtney Smith said of her conversations with Urban Meyer. “Of course, we’re married and I’m trying to get through this. I’m trying to hope that (Zach Smith) is going to change. I’m not ready to leave yet, so of course.
“During that time after the (2015) national championship, when we won that game we were in the airport on our way — we were at the airport, we had just landed in Columbus — and (Urban Meyer) asked me how we were doing and I said, ‘We’re all right,’ because at the time — what was I going to say at that time? I wasn’t ready to come forward with the abuse.”
After the interviews with Courtney Smith surfaced, Ohio State announced Wednesday that it placed Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave.
“We are focused on supporting our players and on getting to the truth as expeditiously as possible,” the university said in a statement.
As Ohio State opened an investigation into who knew what and when, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ryan Day was named its acting head coach. Ohio State was originally scheduled to host interviews with coordinators and “a couple of student-athletes” Friday after it opened training camp from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center with a 3:30 p.m. workout, the first hour of which was supposed to be open to the media, but a team spokesperson announced Thursday that all access was cancelled until further notice.
“The university is committed to supporting our student-athletes as they prepare for the upcoming semester,” Ohio State said in a statement. “Due to the ongoing investigation, football coaches and student-athletes will not be available for interviews until further notice and all practices will be closed.”