Urban Meyer issues 1st statement about Zach Smith incident since being put on administrative leave

COLUMBUS, OH (WTOL) - Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer remains on administrative leave after a report suggested he knew about his ex-assistant's alleged domestic violence incident.

On Friday, he issued a statement via Twitter to address the situation and discuss the future he perceives with the program.

Meyer said he looks forward to rejoining the OSU football program soon.

The coach also said he followed proper protocols, and always has, when it comes to reporting possible wrongdoing.

His statement said in part:

"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.

Ex-Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith was arrested on charges of the alleged felonious assault of his then-wife Courtney Smith in 2015.

The Ohio State University Board of Trustees formed a special, independent board working group related to the investigation on Thursday.

The university made the flowing statement:

"This group includes current trustees Alex Fischer, Janet Porter and Alex Shumate. Also on the panel are former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford and former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart.

At this year's Big Ten Media Days, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said he was not aware of the incident, according to CBS Sports.

However, according to a report released Wednesday by Brett McMurphy, text messages show that Meyer knew what was going on.

OSU said in a statement:

"The university is conducting an investigation into these allegations. During the inquiry, Urban Meyer will be on paid administrative leave. Ryan Day will serve as the acting head football coach during the investigation. We are focused on supporting our players and on getting to the truth as expeditiously as possible."

Meyer also released a statement which said:

"Gene and I 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."

Smith's ex-wife revealed pictures with her injuries that she says she sustained from altercations with the former Ohio State coach and showed text messages that she said were from Urban Meyer's wife Shelley alerting her to the abuse.

McMurphy's report also said Smith was in contact with Lindsey Voltolini, who's husband, Brian Voltolini, is considered "one of Meyer's most loyal staff members," according to McMurphy.

Their text exchange is below:

Courtney: "(Zach's) trying to make me look crazy bc that's what Shelley is saying (he's doing)"
Lindsey: "He (Urban) just said he (Zach) denied everything"
Courtney: "I hope urban is smarter than that"
Lindsey: "He (Urban) doesn't know what to think"
Courtney: "I don't really care. Ya know"
Lindsey: "Yeah, don't worry about urb"

Smith's ex-wife also said that multiple people representing the university came to her and attempted to silence her.

Courtney Smith granted her first interview about the abuse to Stadium.

"I remember specifically texting pictures to my mom, my dad, his dad, begging for help. This has to stop, this isn't normal, I can't do this anymore. I was told, 'Don't call the police. He's gonna get arrested, it's gonna go to the media, he's gonna lose his job. What are you and the kids gonna do?'" she said.

Zach Smith's attorney has released this statement to ESPN:

"Zach Smith wants to be as transparent and honest as possible but it is not going to be done today through the media. It will only be after he and his ex-wife are sworn in to testify."

He went on to say:

"Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don't be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith's calls."

CBS Sports reports that Zach Smith was fired right before Big Ten Media Days and was replaced by former Buckeyes wideout Brian Hartline on an interim basis.

Read McMurphy's full report below:

Ohio State has not yet commented on the report.

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