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Meyer: Made ‘bad decision’ hiring Smith at OSU

11:02 AM ET

  • ESPN

Coach Urban Meyer says he made a “bad decision” in choosing to bring Zach Smith to Ohio State and that he should have made athletic director Gene Smith aware of the assistant football coach’s legal history at the time.

Meyer told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi that he couldn’t recall why he didn’t inform his athletic director, noting that it was several years ago, but said, “In hindsight, I should have.”

“I just can’t tell you exactly what my mindset was at the time,” Meyer told Rinaldi in an interview that aired Sunday morning.

Meyer also admitted that he “erred” in his handling of Smith.

“I erred when I made a decision to do the best I can to help stabilize that situation,” Meyer said. “And one of the things I look back now — I probably should’ve fired him.”

Meyer had been prohibited from coaching the Buckeyes’ first three games for his handling of domestic abuse allegations against Smith and how he represented his awareness of the allegations in July. Meyer’s three-game suspension ended Sunday.

Meyer, who was suspended without pay, had been allowed to participate in practice the past two weeks.

Smith was fired as the Buckeyes’ wide receivers coach in July after a pretrial hearing on a charge of criminal trespassing and a report detailing domestic violence allegations toward Smith from his then-wife, Courtney Smith, in 2009 and 2015. Smith was arrested in the 2009 incident, while police in Ohio did not pursue charges in 2015.

Meyer told Rinaldi that he addressed the 2009 arrest a day after it happened and that the couple both denied the incident involved domestic violence.

“I was told that it was not domestic violence, that she threw him out of the house and that there were going to be no charges,” Meyer said. “I was completely reliant on information from law enforcement. There was no charges.”

Meyer denied being told about text messages between Courtney Smith and his wife, Shelley, regarding the abuse allegations in 2015. He declined to “speak on her behalf” regarding how Shelley Meyer handled her interactions with Courtney Smith.

“She has reasoning for why she didn’t react,” Meyer said. “And I’m not here to speak for Shelley, but she had a reasoning and her reasoning was what it was. That’s why she did not alert me or just go anywhere else with it.”

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