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Suspended Ohio State coach Urban Meyer apologizes two days after controversial news conference

Posted: 3:25 PM, Aug 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-24 22:25:21Z

Suspended Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer apologized on Friday, two days after Meyer failed to apologize to Courtney Smith, the ex-wife of fired OSU assistant coach Zach Smith.

Meyer was suspended for three games on Wednesday by Ohio State's Board of Trustees and university president Michael Drake for mishandling notifying the university of allegations that Zach Smith had assaulted his wife in 2015. Meyer claimed to investigators that he had forgotten about the allegations as university officials claimed Meyer was bound by his contract to notify the department's compliance office of possible crimes involving his staff. 

At a news conference on Wednesday where Meyer's punishment was announced, Meyer was asked if he had anything to say to Courtney Smith. 

"I have a message for everyone involved in this. I'm sorry that we are in the situation. And I'm just sorry we are in this situation," Meyer replied, without mentioning Courtney Smith by name. 

After being criticized for failing to address Courtney Smith, Meyer issued a statement on Friday, apologizing to her. 

My words and demeanor on Wednesday did not show how seriously I take relationship violence. I sincerely apologize. I was taught at a very young age that if I ever hit a woman, I would be kicked out of the house and never welcomed back.

I have the same rule in my house and in the Football Program at Ohio State. Over the years, we have worked hard to educate and remind our coaches and players of the seriousness of relationship violence. I understand my lack of more action in this situation has raised concerns about this commitment. I once again apologize for this, and I extend my empathy to all women, men and families who are affected by relationship violence. This has been a real learning experience for me. I fully intend to use my voice more effectively to be a part of the solution.

Let me say here and now what I should have said on Wednesday: I sincerely apologize to Courtney Smith and her children for what they have gone through.

Meyer will remain away from football activities until after Ohio State opens the season on Sept. 1 against Oregon State. He will then be allowed to lead practices, but will not be allowed on the sidelines for OSU's following games against Rutgers and Texas Christian. 

Along with Meyer's three-game suspension, OSU athletics director Gene Smith will also receive a two-week suspension from his position. 

Zach Smith was not formally charged for domestic violence, but has since had a restraining order filed against him by Courtney Smith. Zach Smith was fired from Ohio State in July after reports of the restraining order surfaced in the media.