The ex-wife of current Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith has filed a domestic violence civil protection order against him following Smith’s arrest for criminal trespassing, according to a report from Brett McMurphy. The filing of the protection order also illuminates past details of Smith’s criminal history—namely, a 2009 arrest for the felony charge of aggravated battery.
The Delaware County (Ohio) Clerk of Court told me that, because it was a domestic violence case, I would have to file a motion to obtain a copy of the protection order. But according to McMurphy’s report, the order was filed and served on Friday. McMurphy says that the initial trespassing charge “was for dropping their son off at his ex-wife’s house—and not at a pre-arranged public place—which was a violation of an earlier criminal trespass warning.” Delaware County online arrest records confirm that Smith was arrested for trespassing on May 22.
A search in a public records database reveals two previous criminal filings against Smith. One is a traffic ticket from 2014, and the other is an arrest for aggravated battery in Gainesville, Fla., in 2009, when Smith was a graduate assistant at UF. The police report from 2009, obtained by Eleven Warriors, also says that the victim in the incident was Smith’s pregnant wife:
The police report states that Zach arrived at their residence with a female co-worker and that [his wife] “refused to have the unknown female, who Zach kept referring to as ‘baby,’ spend the night at their residence.”
An altercation ensued with [his wife], three months pregnant at the time, alleging that Zach threw her into the wall of their bedroom. The report states: “a verbal argument took place over the female and questions of infidelity arose. [His wife] stated Zach was intoxicated and she took the female to her house. … [His wife] stated when she returned to her residence, a heated argument ensued in the upstairs bedroom. [His wife] stated she tried to get Zach out of her bed, which he refused and then forcefully grabbed her.”
The case was dropped after Smith’s wife declined to file charges. However, it seems unlikely that a program as massive as Ohio State would have had no knowledge of this police report before they hired him in 2012 (the simplest of background checks reveals that he was at least arrested for aggravated battery).
But with the increased scrutiny around Ohio State athletics, including allegations of sexual abuse against a former diving coach and multiple complaints of sexual assault against a former wrestling team doctor, it seems possible that the school knew this information about Smith was going to become public sooner or later. New information from Jordan Strack, a sports reporter for WTOL-11 in Toledo, implies that head coach Urban Meyer might have quietly been trying to get Smith to leave the program.
Smith is due back in court on August 22 for the trespassing charge. Ohio State has so far issued a “no comment” on the matter, but Urban Meyer’s Big Ten Media Days availability is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and he will definitely be asked about it then.