Zach Smith was arrested for drunk driving in 2013, says he didn't tell Urban Meyer (Updated)

Yahoo Sports

Another transgression from Zach Smith’s tenure at Ohio State was revealed on Monday.

In recent weeks, multiple allegations of domestic violence made against Smith, OSU’s former wide receivers coach, by his ex-wife Courtney, have emerged publicly. On top of that, it was reported Monday by the Toledo Blade that Smith, who was fired July 23, was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated on Feb. 23, 2013.

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According to the Blade, Smith was pulled over for driving 67 miles per hour in a 50 mph zone at 2:43 a.m. in Dublin, Ohio. The arresting officer wrote in his report that Smith’s eyes were “red and glassy,” had a strong odor of alcohol, struggled with a field sobriety test and refused a breathalyzer.

From the Blade:

Smith told the officer he was taking his passenger, Kevin Curtis, home from a bar. Smith stated he had not consumed alcohol. When Smith exited the vehicle at the officer’s request, the officer said there was still a strong odor of alcohol. During the field sobriety test, the officer wrote Smith had difficulty keeping his head straight and that an eye test had to be administered multiple times.

In the report, the officer said Smith swayed during the one leg stand test and the officer then informed Smith he knew he had been drinking. Smith then stated he consumed two or three glasses of wine with his wife, Courtney.

After posting bond, Smith was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of “physical control.” His OWI charge “was amended” and the speeding charge was dismissed altogether. In the end, a judge fined Smith $375, issued a suspended three-day jail term and suspended Smith’s license for 180 days.

Zach Smith, left, served as Ohio State’s wide receivers coach under Urban Meyer from 2012 until last month. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Zach Smith, left, served as Ohio State’s wide receivers coach under Urban Meyer from 2012 until last month. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Ohio State is investigating what Urban Meyer knew about Zach Smith

Smith was fired by Ohio State coach Urban Meyer after it was revealed that Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney, obtained a protection order against him after he was charged with criminal trespass in May.

From there, college football reporter Brett McMurphy uncovered multiple documented instances of Courtney accusing Zach of domestic violence, including in 2009, when Zach was on Meyer’s staff at Florida, and 2015, when he was in his fourth season under Meyer at OSU. Several other incidents where Courtney contacted police were subsequently uncovered by Cleveland.com.

At Big Ten Media Days, Meyer acknowledged he was aware of the 2009 incident, but was quick to dismiss the 2015 allegation. Later, through further reporting by McMurphy, it was revealed that Meyer was aware of the allegations despite saying otherwise. Meyer, who later admitted he lied to reporters about the 2015 incident, was placed on administrative leave by the university.

Despite admitting to lying to reporters, Meyer says he followed correct reporting protocols when learning of the allegations against Smith.

Ohio State brought in a six-member group, which includes three university trustees, to investigate the ordeal, specifically how Meyer responded to the 2015 allegation against Smith. Mary Jo White, the former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is leading the investigation, which is expected to be completed in the next week or so.

Smith is reportedly set to meet with the investigators this week.

The OWI arrest adds another layer to Meyer’s handling of Smith

If Meyer knew that Smith was arrested for OWI, it adds another incident to Smith’s track record all while serving as an assistant under Meyer. With perhaps three transgressions Meyer may have been aware of, why did he keep Smith on staff?

Well, according to Smith, Meyer was not aware of the OWI arrest. After the Blade’s report, he told ESPN through his attorney that he never informed Meyer.

From ESPN:

“I handled it on my own without involving OSU,” Smith said through his attorney, Brad Koffel, on Monday afternoon.

But wouldn’t Meyer have found out that Smith’s license was suspended. No, according to Smith’s lawyer.

Along with a suspended license, Smith had to complete 72 hours of driver-intervention courses. According to court records, Smith was allowed limited driving privileges. Koffel, his attorney, said that included the ability to drive on recruiting trips and other trips related to his job.

“He never told Coach Meyer nor did Coach Meyer even learn of this (until today most likely),” Koffel said in a text message about the OVI. “Much like the criminal trespass case, Zach chose to deal with it on his own and did not involve the university or athletic department.”

Smith and Meyer go back a long ways. Smith is the grandson of former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, who was a mentor to Meyer. Smith walked on to the team at Bowling Green when Meyer was the Falcons’ head coach in the early 2000’s. From there, he and Meyer reunited at Florida in 2005. Smith worked on the Gators staff as a quality control coach and later a graduate assistant from 2005 to 2009.

After stops at Marshall and Temple in full-time roles, Smith became Meyer’s wide receivers coach at Ohio State when Meyer accepted the job in 2012. In 2015, Smith rose to the role of recruiting coordinator for the Buckeyes.

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