Urban Meyer doubted abuse claims, removed texts

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State released the 23-page Independent Investigation Summary of Findings from an investigation of coach Urban Meyer’s handling of domestic violence allegations against a former Buckeyes assistant coach Zach Smith. Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the season and will forgo six weeks of pay.

Some notable findings:

— Urban Meyer and his wife, Shelley, doubted the veracity of Courtney Smith’s allegations of violence and abuse from her ex-husband. Urban Meyer called the Smith situation a “he said she said” last month in a text with a former player.

He also insisted to investigators he met with Courtney Smith after Zach Smith’s 2009 arrest and that she recanted her original story to authorities. Courtney Smith told investigators she never met with Meyer or recanted any allegations.

“Coach Meyer and Shelley Meyer took away from the 2009 events that Courtney Smith was not being entirely truthful when she called 911 to have Zach arrested.”

— Meyer, athletic director Gene Smith, who was also suspended without pay for two weeks, and others throughout Ohio State thought it wasn’t their place to do anything about allegations against Zach Smith unless law enforcement took more action like making an arrest or filing charges. Investigators called that a widespread misunderstanding of their reporting obligations.

— Investigators were troubled by the fact that after a media report in which Courtney Smith said she told Shelley Meyer in 2015 that Zach Smith assualted her, Urban Meyer asked a staffer about deleting text messages more than a year old by changing settings on his phone.

“Our review of Coach Meyer’s phone revealed no messages older than one year,” the report said.

“We cannot determine, however, whether Coach Meyer’s phone was set to retain messages only for one year in response to the August 1st media report or at some earlier time.”