Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley says he would handle a Zach Smith situation differently than Urban Meyer
Second-year Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley says the Zach Smith situation at Ohio State has been used as a teaching moment for his Sooners staff. Riley has let his assistants know that behavior similar to Smith’s will cost them their jobs.
Riley’s comments were tweeted by Oklahoma reporter Jason Kersey of The Athletic.
“Lincoln Riley: The Zach Smith situation at Ohio State is a good reminder for his staff,” Kersey tweeted. “If anything happens like that at Oklahoma, ‘you won’t work here.'”
As the comments travel to Columbus, many in Buckeye Nation will point to the facts that Smith has never been convicted of or formally charged with domestic violence, only accused. Smith’s ex-wife Courtney was able to secure a protection order, but the only other recent legal records are domestic violence investigations, their 2016 divorce and parenting arrangement.
Zach Smith’s decision in May 2018 to come on Courtney Smith’s property to drop off their kids, instead of an arranged public location, resulted in a trespassing incident which started the chain of events that led to his dismissal. The trespassing incident was reported in July by multiple outlets. Reporter Brett McMurphy then reported that Smith had also been arrested for domestic violence in in 2009 in Florida and 2015 in Ohio (police later said there was no 2015 arrest, saying a clerical error had been made on the record McMurphy obtained). Smith was fired before Big Ten Media Days in late July where Meyer issued a strong denial of the McMurphy report about the 2015 incident. McMurphy followed up with a bombshell report which included photos and text messages by Courtney Smith documenting a history of alleged domestic abuse. Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave. In a statement, Meyer revealed he knew of the 2015 incident and had reported it to OSU, but did not want to discuss at Big Ten Media Days.
From Riley’s comments alone, one can’t tell when the Oklahoma coach would have dismissed Smith. Riley got the better of Meyer on the field last season when the Sooners beat the Buckeyes 31-16 in Columbus. No future meetings between the two schools are scheduled.
Lincoln Riley: The Zach Smith situation at Ohio State is a good reminder for his staff. If anything happens like that at Oklahoma, “you won’t work here.” #Sooners
— Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) August 10, 2018
(Note: Timeline of allegations against Smith edited for clarification.)