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Urban Meyer put on paid leave by Ohio State

Ohio State put head football coach Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave after he was accused of knowing about domestic abuse allegations against a former assistant coach. Ohio State is conducting an investigation.

The announcement was made hours after the ex-wife of former wide receivers coach Zach Smith alleged publicly that she told Meyer's wife in 2015 that Smith had assaulted her.


Courtney Smith made the allegations in an interview with the digital sports network Stadium and provided text messages to reporter Brett McMurphy.

"Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban," Courtney Smith told Stadium. "I said: 'That's fine, you should tell Urban.'"

If Courtney Smith's allegations are confirmed, the Meyers could be in violation of Title IX policy on reporting allegations of domestic violence against university employees. Shelley Meyer is a registered nurse and an instructor at the university.

Smith was fired July 23 after an Ohio court granted Courtney Smith a domestic violence protective order. The couple divorced in 2016.

In a statement, Ohio State said it is "focused on supporting our players and on getting to the truth as expeditiously as possible." Meyer issued a statement saying he and athletic director Gene Smith "agree that being on leave during this inquiry will facilitate its completion. This allows the team to conduct training camp with minimal distraction. I eagerly look forward to the resolution of this matter."

Zach Smith was charged in May with misdemeanor criminal trespass. At the time of the charge, Zach Smith's attorney said Courtney Smith had accused him of driving to her apartment after she told him they would meet elsewhere so he could drop off their son. Zach Smith pleaded not guilty last month. A hearing has been scheduled for Friday.

Zach Smith was accused of aggravated battery on his then-pregnant wife in 2009 while he was a graduate assistant on Meyer's staff at Florida. The charge was dropped because of insufficient evidence. Urban Meyer brought Smith, the grandson of late Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce, to Ohio State in 2012.

Two police reports filed in 2015 in Ohio's Powell County, after the Smiths separated in June of that year, accused Zach Smith of abuse. Charges were never filed.

At Big Ten media days, Meyer said he knew of the incident in 2009 and he and Shelley Meyer addressed it with the Smiths. Asked about the 2015 incident alleged by Courtney Smith, Meyer said: "I can't say it didn't happen because I wasn't there. I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light. I've never had a conversation about it. I know nothing about it. First I heard about that was last night. No, and I asked some people back at the office to call and say what happened and they came back and said they know nothing about it."

Meyer is one of the most successful coaches in college football history, with three national championships and an .851 winning percentage in 16 seasons at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and now Ohio State, the team he grew up rooting for in Northeast Ohio.

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