In a stunning development, Ohio State placed Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave Wednesday while the school investigates claims that the head coach knew of domestic violence allegations made against one of his assistants in 2015 by his ex-wife, ESPN reports.
Courtney Smith, the wife of Meyer’s former wide receivers coach Zach Smith, said in a recent interview with Stadium that Meyer was aware of the abuse around the time that it happened, contradicting Meyer’s claim last month that he had no prior knowledge of the abuse.
“All the coach’s wives knew,” she said. “They all did. Every single one of them. I believe he knew and instead he chose to help the abuser and enable the abuser and believe whatever story Zach was telling everybody.”
Asked about the situation at a Big Ten media event last week, Meyer denied having any prior knowledge of the incident and said he was only recently made aware of it.
“I got a text last night that something happened in 2015, and there was nothing,” Meyer told reporters. “I don’t know who creates stories like that.”
Ohio State named offensive coordinator Ryan Day the team’s acting head coach.
“We are focused on supporting our players and on getting to the truth as expeditiously as possible,” the university said in a statement.
Courtney Smith also claimed she was a victim of habitual domestic violence. Zach Smith was reportedly investigated in 2015 for suspicion of felony domestic violence after another incident that resulted in unspecified injuries and showed evidence of sustained abuse. However, no charges were filed. Smith was fired by Ohio State in July after he was charged with criminal trespassing in relation to dropping his children off at his ex-wife’s home without her consent.
Meanwhile, it’s reportedly unclear whether Meyer’s job is in jeopardy. A similar case involving domestic abuse allegations made against a University of Colorado assistant coach by his significant other resulted in a judge ruling that school officials were not legally obligated to act when they learned about the allegations.