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Attorney: OSU never contacted Courtney Smith

  • Ohio-St-Meyer-Football-6

    In this September, 2016 photo, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, right, and then-assistant coach Zach Smith, left, gesture from the sidelines during a game against Oklahoma. Meyer was put on administrative leave on Wednesday over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Big-Ten-Media-Days-Football-15

    Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer speaks at the Big Ten Conference NCAA college football Media Days in Chicago on July 24.

    Associated Press

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COLUMBUS — In a statement released to the media Tuesday, Courtney Smith’s attorney, Julia Leveridge, said Ohio State has never contacted Smith to discuss domestic abuse allegations she has made against her ex-husband, former OSU wide receivers coach Zach Smith.

“As her attorney, I can tell you that Ms. Smith is cautiously optimistic that The Ohio State University’s investigative committee will determine if proper reporting protocol was followed upon learning of the ongoing, abuse allegations against Zach Smith,” Leveridge said in a statement. “We believe the University must prioritize the safety and well-being of others above all else. While The Ohio State University has never contacted Ms. Smith to discuss these allegations, she will fully cooperate with the university’s current investigation.”

READ MORE: OSU fans grapple with how to respond to Meyer probe

Zach Smith was fired as OSU’s receivers coach July 23, and head coach Urban Meyer has been placed on paid administrative leave as the school looks into whether he properly reported what he knew about any such allegations made by Courtney Smith.

Leveridge said Courtney Smith received no compensation for any interviews she’s granted to reporters. She also clarified that Courtney Smith has never been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated or any other crimes, which has been alleged on Ohio State message boards and fan sites.

“Ms. Smith is a victim of domestic violence,” Leveridge said. “She has made concerted efforts to press charges of domestic abuse against her ex-husband. The cycle of abuse is complicated. Breaking free from years of violence takes tremendous courage and support. Blaming the victim only contributes to the stigma that is already present in our society today. It should be unacceptable.”

Zach Smith said in interviews Friday that he never physically abused Courtney Smith. Police reports indicate Courtney Smith reported accusations of domestic violence in both 2009 and 2015, though charges were not pursued in either case.

Contact Kyle Rowland at krowland@theblade.com, 419-724-6110, or on Twitter @KyleRowland.

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