Rivalry News: Ohio State's Urban Meyer on the Firing of WR Coach Zach Smith

Rivalry News: Ohio State's Urban Meyer on the Firing of WR Coach Zach Smith

Football

Rivalry News: Ohio State's Urban Meyer on the Firing of WR Coach Zach Smith


Down in Columbus, Ohio State just lost one of its top recruiters.


Rivalry News: Ohio State’s Urban Meyer on the Firing of WR Coach Zach Smith

Shocking revelations surfaced Monday about Smith and domestic violence.

And Ohio State did about all it could do on the matter, letting him go later in the day.

On Tuesday, instead of talking about being defending Big Ten champions, Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer spent much of his 15 minutes at the lectern talking about Zach Smith’s dismissal, when he knew about the allegations, how he came to the decision to fire him, and where OSU goes from here.

First, Meyer addressed having heard initially about Smith’s history of abuse back in 2009, and then again in 2015.

“I’m going to address the 2009 because I’ve been asked about that,” Meyer said. “In 2009 Zach was an intern, a very young couple. As I do many times, most coaches and people in leadership positions, you receive a phone call, first thing you do is tell your boss, let the experts do their jobs. We’re certainly not going to investigate.

“It came back to me that what was reported wasn’t actually what happened. And Shelley and I actually both got involved because of our relationship with that family and advised for counseling and wanted to help as we moved forward.

“2015, I got a text late last night something happened in 2015. And there was nothing. Once again, there’s nothing — once again, I don’t know who creates a story like that. And then this recent one was you press pause, it’s something our team lives by, E + R = O, you press pause and get your mind right and step up, press pause and gather information, get your mind right, gather energy, and then step up to do the right thing. That’s the position I hold. That’s how we did that.”

Meyer said it’s not known yet whether or not Brian Hartline, a graduate assistant for Ohio State as of current, will be shifted into a permanent coaching role now that Smith is absent.

He also stated that he hasn’t often had the misfortune of having to replace a coach so close to fall camp, with recent departures, such as Kerry Combs to the Tennessee Titans, having come much earlier in the offseason.

But Meyer did bristle somewhat at the notion that the only reason that he made the move to fire Smith was due to the media backlash — and that his knowledge before could have preempted the situation.

“I’m not going to get into that,” Meyer said. “It’s a very personal matter. The decision was made. I think the details that I’m obligated to give, I gave.

“You’re talking about people’s lives, et cetera. So the decision was made. It’s time to move forward. And we are in a public world. I try not to operate, especially when you’re talking about personnel and people, making things because it became public. But to say that doesn’t have something to do with it, it does a little bit. I’m one of those ones I really don’t care about that. I try to stay focused on what’s the most important thing. That’s our players and our team.”

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