Urban Meyer apologizes to ex-wife of former Ohio State assistant

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer (right) and athletic director Gene Smith listen as university president Michael Drake addresses the media at a Wednesday news conference.Photo: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

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Ohio State coach Urban Meyer did Friday evening what he was criticized for failing to do at a Wednesday news conference announcing his three-game suspension: apologize to Courtney Smith.

The national media have chastised Meyer for the past two days for what seemed to be a lack of empathy for the ex-wife of fired Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith, and he issued a two-paragraph statement on Twitter with the aid of Ohio State's athletics communications office to try to make amends.

Meyer was suspended by the university after a two-week investigation for his mishandling of domestic abuse allegations against Zach Smith. In his Friday apology posted on Twitter, he said he was sorry to all women, men and families impacted by abuse.

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

"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."

During Wednesday's news conference, Meyer, university president Michael Drake and athletic director Gene Smith never mentioned Courtney Smith by name in their remarks or in follow-up questions.

When Meyer was asked by a reporter what he'd like to say to Courtney Smith, he responded, "My message for everyone involved in this: I'm sorry that were in this situation. I'm just sorry we're in this situation."

On Friday, he said his comments at the news conference did not express "how seriously I take relationship violence."

A 23-page report was released after the news conference on Wednesday detailing the findings of the investigation into the actions of Zach Smith and the response by Meyer and Smith.

Meyer said he knew that police had investigated domestic assault allegations involving the Smiths in 2009 when Meyer and Smith were at the University of Florida and again in 2015 at Ohio State. Meyer had denied at the Big Ten Media Days in late July that he knew about the 2015 allegations.

Courtney Smith has not spoken publicly since Meyer was suspended.

Meyer will miss games against Oregon State, Rutgers and TCU. Interim head Ryan Day will lead the Buckeyes until Meyer returns.