Ohio State coach Urban Meyer claims in statement to have properly reported Zach Smith incident

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has broken his silence on exactly what he knew regarding the domestic violence incident involving now-former wide receivers coach Zach Smith in 2015. 

In an extended statement published on Twitter, Meyer claims he properly reported the issue to the correct authorities, seemingly confirming a report from Brett McMurphy earlier in the week that Meyer knew about the incident prior to it being uncovered this offseason. Meyer does not specify when he learned of the 2015 incident, but his statement contradicts his claims at Big Ten Media Days that, "I got a text last night that something happened in 2015, and there was nothing."

Meyer also wrote that he has "always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff."  

The statement in its entirety:

Dear Buckeye Nation:

My heart is heavy today as I witness the toll that events of the past week have taken on the Buckeye Family and the university community that I love so dearly.

When I stand before the 105 young men in our football program and talk about core values and doing the right thing and respecting women, it's not lip-service. I genuinely believe that we have an obligation to help develop the young men in our charge into positive change agents and that responsibility rests with me.

Over the past several days, I have been portrayed as being indifferent to domestic violence and as someone who did not take appropriate action, when warranted. While over three decades of coaching I have learned to ignore how others define me, I do feel it necessary to share the truth with the Buckeye family.

Here is the truth: While at the University of Florida, and now at The Ohio State University, I have always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels. And, I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015. I take that responsibility very seriously and any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.

The power of what I say and how I say it, especially regarding sensitive and serious domestic issues, has never been more evident than now. My words, whether in a reply to a reporter's question or in addressing a personnel issue, must be clear, compassionate, and most of all, completely accurate. Unfortunately, at Big Ten Media Days on July 24th, I failed on many of these fronts. My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or misleading. However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions.

I understand there are more questions to be answered and I look forward to doing just that with the independent investigators retained by the University and I will cooperate fully with them. At the appropriate time, I will also address the questions and speculation in a public forum. But for now, out of respect for the ongoing inquiry, I will refrain at this time.

Please know that the truth is the ultimate power and I am confident that I took appropriate action. As I stated above, I deeply regret if I have failed in my words. As the son of an amazing woman and the husband to another and, as the father of two incredible young women, those who know me best know the admiration and respect I have for all women. Our core values are just that-values that do not ever waver.

I ask that you continue to support the incredible coaches and student-athletes in our program, and I look forward to rejoining them soon.

Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday. Smith was fired from his position as wide receivers coach on July 23 following a string of domestic violence allegations being released. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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