More details of the domestic abuse allegations against former Ohio State assistant Zach Smith were released on Wednesday, but Smith’s ex-wife says there is at least one important detail in the police report that is inaccurate.
The police documents, which were not released publicly because Smith was never charged, were obtained by The Columbus Dispatch through an anonymous email. Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney, confirmed to Dan Murphy of ESPN that much of the details — including that she told police Zach pushed her into a wall and took the couple’s young son with him despite her opposition — were accurate. However, she says the police had some of the information mixed up from the 2015 incident and a previous incident she had reported in 2009.
According to the documents, Courtney told police in 2015 that Ohio State sent a lawyer to her home “convincing her to drop the charge because it would embarrass OSU if she proceeded with the prosecution.” She said she does not remember saying that.
“No way,” Courtney said. “I would have never said that.”
Courtney said she decided not to press charges against Zach after he assaulted her in 2009 following a conversation with Hiram deFries, a member of Urban Meyer’s staff whom Meyer has referred to as his “life coach.” Courtney confirmed on Wednesday that she met with deFries days after Zach was arrested in 2009, and she previously described the meeting to college football reporter Brett McMurphy.
“He said, ‘If you don’t drop the charges, Zach will never coach again,’” Courtney told McMurphy earlier this month. “‘He’s never hit you before. He was drinking. He’ll probably never do it again. You should think about giving him a second chance.’”
It’s worth noting that deFries is a former attorney, so it’s possible there was some confusion in 2015 when Courtney was discussing multiple instances of domestic violence.
Zach Smith has maintained his innocence, and he lashed out at McMurphy and ESPN on social media Wednesday. Meyer has been suspended for the first three games of the season for the way he handled the situation.