In a statement released Friday, Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer said he believes he followed proper reporting protocols regarding the allegations of domestic abuse by longtime assistant coach Zach Smith.
The statement, which was tweeted as an image from the coach’s Twitter account, reads:
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 is 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 that 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.
The Ohio State University announced a special, independent board will investigate head football coach Meyer, who was put on paid leave this week after claims that people close to him knew of allegations against longtime assistant coach Smith of domestic abuse.
The Ohio State University Board of Trustees said it formed the special board on Thursday. The group includes current trustees Alex Fischer, Janet Porter and Alex Shumate, former Oho House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford and former U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart.
"The special working group will direct the work of the investigative team and be available to provide consultation and advice and assist with communication to the full board on the matter," OSU said.
Smith was fired on July 23, days after he was served with a protection order involving his ex-wife, Courtney Smith.