According to the newly released summary of findings from Ohio State’s investigation into Urban Meyer, the OSU coach had a “concerning” first reaction to reports that he and his wife, Shelley, were both aware of Courtney Smith’s allegations of Zach Smith’s abuse in 2015. After Brett McMurphy published his report on Aug. 1, based on an interview with and text screenshots from Courtney Smith, Meyer had a discussion with Ohio State director of football operations Brian Voltolini, in which they talked about how Meyer could delete texts older than one year from his phone. From the summary:
Upon seeing this report when it first came out (at about 10:17 a.m.), Brian Voltolini, who was on the practice field with Coach Meyer went to speak with him, commenting that this was “a bad article.” The two discussed at that time whether the media could get access to Coach Meyer’s phone, and specifically discussed how to adjust the settings on Meyer’s phone so that text messages older than one year would be deleted.
The investigators go on to say that there were no texts on Meyer’s phone older than one year when Ohio State got ahold of it the following day. Of course, that fact doesn’t confirm if Meyer set his texts to delete in response to the report, or if he had already done so at an earlier date. However, the summary declares, “It is nonetheless concerning that his first reaction to a negative media piece exposing his knowledge of the 2015-2016 law enforcement investigation was to worry about the media getting access to information and discussing how to delete messages older than a year.”
Interestingly, the summary notes, Ohio State student paper The Lantern filed a records request about a week before the report, asking for communication between Meyer and Smith for a range of dates, including some in 2015. Ohio State failed to follow through on that request in time to see if Meyer was already deleting texts in late July or if he only did so starting Aug. 1. Had Ohio State been more prompt in responding to that request, we would have much more definitive evidence that could either clear or further implicate Urban Meyer in a cover-up of the allegations against Zach Smith.
The full summary is embedded below, and the section describing Meyer’s conversation with Voltolini begins on page 14.