How We Arrived Here

posted by Lori Schmidt - 

2002: Zach Smith joined Bowling Green as a walk-on football player, where Urban Meyer was in his second year as a head coach.

2004: Meyer was hired by the Florida Gators, and Smith signed on to be a quality control coach/graduate assistant

June 21, 2009: Smith was arrested for aggravated battery on a pregnant victim, his then-wife Courtney. Courtney decided against pressing charges. Meyer said there was an investigation, although he provided no details. Florida's athletic director at the time, Jeremy Foley, also refused to provide information on what steps the university took. 

2011: Meyer is named Ohio State's football coach. He eventually brought Smith aboard to be his wide receivers coach. 

February 23, 2013: Smith was pulled over for driving 67 miles per hour in a 50 miles-per-hour zone. He refused a breathalyzer, but the officer who made the stop determined Smith failed several field sobriety tests. Smith ended up receiving a suspended a three-day jail sentence, $375 fine, and license suspension with limited driving privileges for 180 days on a charge of having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. Smith, through his attorney, said he never informed Meyer or Ohio State about the arrest.

October 25, 2015: Courtney Smith called police regarding an argument with Zach. She said the dispute became physical, and that he grabbed her by the neck and threw her against a wall. The next day she told officers she wanted to file for a restraining order. A spokeswoman for the city of Powell, where the incident took place, told The Columbus Dispatch Zach “was investigated and believed to have committed an offense, but was not charged/arrested.” Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien added she didn’t know why misdemeanor assault or other charges weren’t filed. The Smiths would file for divorce later that year. 

December 17, 2017: Saying that neighbors saw Zach looking into her house and banging on doors in the early morning hours, Courtney called police. They warned Zach not to return to the property. 

May 12, 2018: Zach returned to the property. He argued it was necessary to honor a custodial agreement regarding the couple's children, but he was still charged with criminal trespassing. 

July 11, 2018 Courtney Smith filed a report with police asserting that Zach was “relentlessly stalking” and “harassing” her. 

July 18, 2018: As Smith's court hearing on the trespass charge neared, reports about it emerged. 

July 20, 2018: Courtney Smith filed for a civil protection order against Zach.

July 23, 2018: Former ESPN reporter, Brett McMurphy, now with Stadium Sports, shared the news regarding the filing for a civil protection order and became the first to reveal Zach Smith's 2009 arrest. He subsequently reported on the 2015 incident as well, and Ohio State announced Smith's dismissal. 

July 24, 2018: At Big Ten media day, Meyer was asked by Cleveland.com's Doug Lesmerises what he knew of the October 25, 2015 altercation. "I was never told about anything. Never anything came to light. I never had a conversation about it," Meyer answered.

July 26, 2018: Brian Hartline was elevated to interim wide receivers coach. 

August 1, 2018: McMurphy released text messages between Courtney Smith and Urban Meyer's wife, Shelley, that he said showed Urban did indeed know about the 2015 argument between the Smiths, and about Courtney's allegations of abuse. Ohio State placed Urban on paid administrative leave as a result. Ryan Day was promoted to acting head coach of the Buckeye football team. 

August 2, 2018: The OSU football team arrived for fall camp.

August 3, 2018: Meyer admitted his statements at Big Ten media day were inaccurate. He also said that he followed proper protocol in his handling of the Smith's situation.

August 3, 2018: Zach Smith broke his silence, granting his first interview to 105.7 The Zone. He said Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith called him back while he was on a recruiting trip in 2015 to address the abuse accusations, and he believed everything was dealt with appropriately. 

August 5, 2018: Ohio State announced an investigation, laying out a 2-week timeline for the inquiry into Meyer's and the university's handling of the domestic violence accusations against Smith. The school set a $500,000 budget for this. Later reports suggest that although OSU stuck to its proposed timeline, they went a bit beyond what was originally expected to be its scope. 

August 6, 2018: An estimated 100-200 fans staged a rally for Meyer in front of Ohio Stadium.

August 13, 2018: Courtney Smith spoke to the Ohio State investigators.

August 14, 2018: Zach Smith spoke to the Ohio State investigators.

August 20, 2018: Mary Jo White, formerly the head of the Security and Exchange Commission, and the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton had wrapped up their work, so the Ohio State Board of Trustees was briefed at an informational session in advance of a meeting two days later. 

August 22, 2018: Ohio State's Board of Trustees met, adjourning to a private executive session to discuss personnel matters. For almost 12 hours they talked and finally announced that Meyer would be suspended through September 2, and would be suspended for the  first three games of the Buckeye football season without pay. Athletics  director Gene Smith was suspended from August 31-September  16.

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