Urban Meyer won't say if he believes Courtney Smith is a domestic violence victim

Urban Meyer addressed the media for the first time since his suspension was announced on August 22. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Urban Meyer addressed the media for the first time since his suspension was announced on August 22. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

For the first time since his suspension was announced, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, now back in his role full-time, addressed reporters in Columbus on Monday.

He reiterated many of the stances he took in his sit-down interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi:

• Meyer said he was suspended for “trying to help a troubled employee (Zach Smith) with work-related issues,” not for turning his back to allegations of domestic violence.

• He said, with respect to the 2015 domestic violence allegation against Zach Smith on his ex-wife Courtney Smith, that he was told by law enforcement that it was not domestic violence, just a “messy divorce.”

• He said he did not “lie” to the media at Big Ten Media Days.

• Meyer said he did not delete any text messages from his phone or ask a staff member about his text messages.

After Ohio State commissioned an independent investigation into his handling of Smith, who was fired in July after six seasons on Meyer’s staff, Meyer was given a three-game suspension.

Meyer said Smith, who had brief stints at Temple and Marshall after serving as a graduate assistant under Meyer at Florida, was given high recommendations before he brought him onto his staff at OSU in 2012. Meyer said Smith did a good job his first three seasons, but then, in 2015, things took a turn.

Meyer said in 2015 he was informed by athletic director Gene Smith of an allegation against Smith, but ultimately, after a police investigation, no charges were filed. Meyer said law enforcement told him it was “not domestic violence,” but the Smiths were going through a “messy divorce.” At that point, Meyer says he decided to keep Smith on staff to try to help the family.

Meyer asked if he believes Courtney Smith is a victim of domestic violence

On two occasions Monday, Meyer was asked if he believes Courtney Smith is a victim of domestic violence.

“All I can go by is what I was told by law enforcement,” he said the first time.

“I can only rely on the information I received from experts,” he said the second time.

Several times during the press conference, Meyer said in relation to the 2015 incident that he did not ask enough questions and relied “too much” on law enforcement. In his ESPN interview, Meyer said he has not reached out to Courtney Smith, nor has he apologized to her directly

“For Courtney and her family to go through what they went through especially when things started being brought out in the media. For her children and her, I’m very sorry,” he told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi.

Per Rinaldi, Courtney Smith said that Meyer chose to help the abuser and to enable the abuser. When Rinaldi brought that up, Meyer said it was his first time hearing it.

“That breaks my heart. I apologize that she believes that. That’s never been my intent,” Meyer said. “My intent was to try to help all involved the only way I knew how at the time. I had two choices: fire a man and really put a family in upheaval financially, etc., or try to stabilize someone so he can go be a good father.”

Before the press conference, Meyer released a statement

Earlier Monday morning, before the ESPN piece aired and before he addressed the media, Meyer released a lengthy statement on Twitter:

More from Yahoo Sports:
‘Completely disrespectful’: Bills player retires at halftime
Rams player arrested on DUI charge shortly after Sunday’s win
LeBron rips Browns kicker: ‘Are you kidding me man’
Which 0-2 team is the NFL’s most desperate?