Brett McMurphy, a college football insider, best known for his work with ESPN, CBSSports.com, AOL FanHouse, The Tampa Tribune and The Odessa American, has claimed to have collected text messages that suggest Ohio State coach Urban Meyer knew of domestic abuse allegations against a member of his coaching staff back in 2015. In addition, McMurphy also claims to have conducted an exclusive interview with the victim.
What happened in the text messages?
As described in the following Facebook post, McMurphy described how Meyer claimed to have no prior knowledge of allegations concerning former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith:
“Meyer said last week during Big Ten Media Days that he had no knowledge of two alleged domestic violence incidents in 2015 with former assistant wide receivers coach Zach Smith that were investigated by the Powell (Ohio) Police Department.”
“Meyer said had he known, he would have fired Smith in 2015 – three years before he did last week after I reported the alleged domestic violence.”
As the post continued, McMurphy noted that, had school officials been aware of the situation, it could be in violation of Title IX, which states: discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes sexual harassment, abuse and even rape. McMurphy then quoted Courtney Smith, former Smith’s ex-wife, who gave her side of the story, in addition to having provided text messages:
“All the (coaches) wives knew…They all did. Every single one.”
As McMurphy went on in the Facebook post, there appears to be evidence that more than just the coach’s wives knew what was going on:
“However, text messages I have obtained sent from Courtney Smith, Meyer’s wife Shelley; and other Ohio State coaches’ wives show Urban Meyer and a number of Ohio State assistant coaches were aware of Smith’s domestic violence issues for several years.”
“Courtney said Shelley Meyer, Urban’s wife of nearly three decades, knew about the abuse that begin in 2009, continued in 2015 and culminated with Zach Smith being served a domestic violence civil protection order last week.”
“Courtney said she and Shelly often discussed Zach’s domestic violence.”
What do the text messages have to say?
The text messages that McMurphy obtained for the Facebook post could be read below:
Shelley: “I am with you! A lot of women stay hoping it will get better. I don’t blame you! But just want u to be safe. Do you have a restraining order? He scares me”
Courtney: “Restraining orders don’t do anything in Ohio-I tried to get protection order which is what started this whole investigation. And that should go through soon finally. It’s hard bc you have to prove immediate danger. Legal system is tough. Basically you have to prove he will kill u to get protective order”
Shelley: “Geesh! Even w the pics? Didn’t law enforcement come to your place ever??”
In addition to screenshots of the text messages, as seen above, McMurphy also released photos relating to the story, which can also be seen above. Many of them depict bruises on Courtney’s body, particularly around he arm, as well as one photo showing blood oozing out of cuts on her hand.
As this story is developing, more information will be updated as made available.