Several new twists to the story involving the Ohio State football program, coach Urban Meyer and alleged spousal abuse by former assistant Zach Smith emerged Saturday.
Texas coach Tom Herman, an offensive coordinator under Meyer at Ohio State from 2012 to 2014, denied a report that he tipped off college football writer Brett McMurphy about the allegations of physical abuse between Smith, Ohio State’s wide receivers coach until he was fired July 23, and his wife, Courtney.
Meyer was put on paid administrative leave Aug. 1 while a committee investigates the situation and whether the coach followed the proper protocol in reporting in 2015 what he knew about the Smiths and the alleged abuse to the university.
A Texas spokesman said on behalf of Herman that the report was “absolutely untrue.” Herman also denied that his wife, Michelle, spoke with McMurphy about the situation.
“Neither I, nor anybody in my family, has ever communicated with Brett McMurphy about the situation at Ohio State,” Herman said.
Herman said his wife offered financial help to Courtney Smith in March 2017 but not since.
Meanwhile, Smith’s attorney said Saturday that his client will meet next week with investigators conducting the university probe.
According to reports, investigators have been in contact with the Powell, Ohio, police department, which has been handling the case for the past few years.
Brad Koffel, who represents Smith, said his client will tell investigators that the relationship with his wife was volatile and that each side is responsible for the issues that led to a divorce. The investigators are expected to finish their review by Aug. 19.
“We’re not trying to run from the truth, but we’re not the only ones with warts on us,” Koffel said, according to ESPN.
Smith defended Meyer in an interview last week, saying he believed the head coach followed procedures and that it would be a shame if he were fired.
Also Saturday, McMurphy reported that Tina Carano, Courtney Smith’s mother, said she can prove that Smith “grabbed (Courtney) around the neck to get away from her” but added that she does not think Zach threw a punch at her.
“He hit her because of self defense,” Carano told McMurphy. “It’s not like he punched (her) or threw a punch at her. He was putting his hands against her throat and pushing her against a wall to get away. That’s all I’m going to say.”
McMurphy also revealed text messages apparently from Carano to Zach Smith questioning his infidelity and abusive attitude toward Courtney.
“I can tell you this — when all this happened — I’m trying to be there as a mother,” Carano said. “I’m going to support her.”
Two days earlier in an interview with another reporter Thursday, Carano had claimed the domestic abuse allegations against Zach Smith were untrue, apparently contradicting her daughter’s side of the story.
Courtney Smith told McMurphy on Saturday that she and her mother have been estranged for several months.
“I still love my mom, but I’m really hurt she has chosen not to support me during this difficult time,” Courtney said.