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Urban Meyer Releases New Statement On Ohio State Investigation

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer makes a statement during a news conference.
Paul Vernon
Associated Press

A week into his suspension, Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer released a new statement defending himself against accusations that he condoned domestic violence by a fired assistant coach.

In a statement released Friday morning, Meyer clarifies that he was “not suspended because I knew about or condoned Zach Smith’s alleged domestic violence.” 

“My fault was in not taking action sooner against a troubled employee about his work-related issues,” Meyer said.

Ohio State suspended Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith without pay through September 16. An investigation led by a special committee concluded that both officials did not "condoned domestic abuse" but they "failed to take sufficient management action relating to Zach Smith's misconduct."

The committee found that Meyer and Gene Smith repeatedly declined to punish Zach Smith for work-related issues, including but not limited to: visiting a strip club on a recruiting trip with other coaches, failing to pay bills, not showing up to scheduled recruiting visits, and carrying on a relationship with a team staffer who didn't report to him.

"I followed my heart and not my head," Meyer said at a press conference announcing his suspension. "I fell short in pursuing full information because at each juncture I gave Zach Smith the benefit of the doubt."

Meyer also reiterated that the review found he did not “deliberately lie” at Big Ten Media Days when he falsely said he did not know about a 2015 domestic violence incident. While the review did not find Meyer's statement was not "part of a deliberate cover-up," it did raise concerns that Meyer may have deleted text messages following media reports about his comments.

Meyer's statement did not address questions about his text messages.

On Thursday, WOSU confirmed that Ohio State trustee Jeffrey Wadsworth resigned after Meyer's suspension, saying that the punishment was too lenient.

Meyer's statement comes a day before Ohio State's first football game of the season, in which Meyer will not be allowed to participate. You can read Meyer's entire statement below.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.