Ohio State Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer has been placed on paid administrative leave as the university probes the football coach’s response to the domestic abuse allegations regarding fired wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
“The university is conducting an investigation into these allegations,” said the statement from OSU released Wednesday evening.
Offensive coordinator Ryan Day will serve as acting head coach during the investigation.
“Athletic director Gene Smith and I agree that being on leave during this inquiry will facilitate its completion,” Meyer said in the OSU statement.
“This allows the team to conduct training camp with minimal distraction. I eagerly look forward to the resolution of this matter.”
At Big Ten Media Days last week, Meyer acknowledged he was aware of a 2009 incident involving Smith and his then wife, but was quick to deny any knowledge about an incident from 2015.
However, text messages obtained by veteran college football reporter Brett McMurphy, plus an on-camera interview given by Courtney Smith, reflect otherwise.
Text messages exchanged between Courtney and other wives of Ohio State football staff members, including Shelley Meyer, the wife of Urban, show widespread knowledge of the abuse Courtney was suffering at the hands of Zach, according to McMurphy’s reporting, which also included images of a bruised Courtney.
Among the exchanges in McMurphy’s report is a Nov. 5, 2015, conversation between Courtney and Lindsey Voltolini, the wife of Brian Voltolini, OSU’s director of football operations and a longtime colleague of Meyer. The exchange makes it seem that Meyer was aware of a 2015 incident where Courtney accused Zach of domestic violence.
Meyer, 54, has a 73-8 record at Ohio State, including the inaugural 2014 College Football Playoff championship. He has not had more than two losses in any season.
His overall coaching record, which also includes stops at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, is 177-31, including two national titles at Florida.
Day has never served as head coach. He was promoted from co-coordinator to sharing offensive coordinator duties this year after he rejected a job offer from the Tennessee Titans.