Lawyer: Ohio State never contacted Courtney Smith about domestic violence allegationsAugust 7, 2018
Ohio State has never contacted Courtney Smith to discuss domestic assault allegations she made against her ex-husband, former Buckeyes assistant coach Zach Smith, according to Courtney Smith’s attorney, Julia Leveridge.
Leveridge said Tuesday in a statement that her client is “a victim of domestic violence” and emphasized that “blaming the victim” is “unacceptable.”
Leveridge also said that Smith “received absolutely no compensation” for granting interviews to reporters. Smith told college football reporter Brett McMurphy last week that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer knew about a domestic abuse incident involving Smith and her ex-husband in 2015 and did not act.
Ohio State is investigating how Meyer handled the complaint.
“Ms. Smith is cautiously optimistic that The Ohio State University’s investigative committee will determine if proper reporting protocol was followed upon learning of the ongoing, abuse allegations against Zach Smith,” Leveridge said in the statement. “We believe the University must prioritize the safety and well-being of others above all else. While The Ohio State University has never contacted Ms. Smith to discuss these allegations, she will fully cooperate with the university’s current investigation.”
Leveridge first released the statement to McMurphy on Monday, the same day that a rally was held at Ohio Stadium to show support for Meyer, who was placed on administrative leave last week. The statement, which was widely circulated Tuesday, also claimed that Courtney Smith has “never been charged with an OVI or any other criminal offense” and that she made “concerted efforts to press charges of domestic abuse” against Zach Smith, a former wide receivers coach for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State fired Zach Smith on July 23 when past allegations of domestic assault were brought to light by McMurphy. Meyer told reporters the following day that he knew nothing about an incident that occurred in 2015 while Smith was working for him at Ohio State. Meyer later backtracked on the statement, and Smith said Meyer was aware that police were investigating him for domestic assault in late October 2015.
Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave last week after Courtney Smith’s interview with McMurphy. It has appointed a special working group to determine who at Ohio State knew about Zach Smith’s actions, when they knew and if anyone acted improperly in handling the situation.
ESPN’s Dan Murphy contributed to this report.