Urban Meyer released a statement Friday in which the Ohio State football coach apologized for his “words and demeanor” regarding domestic abuse during Wednesday night’s news conference about his three-game suspension, and he also specifically apologized to Courtney Smith.

When Meyer was asked Wednesday night whether he had a message for Courtney Smith — whose accusations against her ex-husband, former OSU receivers coach Zach Smith, sparked the controversy that led to Meyer’s suspension — he replied: “I have a message for everyone in this: I’m sorry we are in this situation. I’m just sorry we’re in this situation.” 

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Meyer was criticized for that response, especially in the national media.

“Let me say here and now,” Meyer said in his Friday statement, “what I should have said on Wednesday: I sincerely apologize to Courtney Smith and her children for what they have gone through.”

He said he did not show Wednesday “how seriously I take relationship violence. I was taught at a very young age that if I ever hit a woman, I would be kicked out of the house and never be welcomed back. I have the same rule in my house and in the Football Program at Ohio State. Over the years, we have worked hard to educate and remind our coaches and players of the seriousness of relationship violence.

“I understand my lack of more action in this situation has raised concerns about this commitment. I once again apologize for this, and I extend my empathy to all women, men and families who are affected by relationship violence. This has been a real learning experience for me. I fully intend to use my voice more effectively to be a part of the solution.”

Meyer is on suspension through the first game of the season. He will be allowed to lead the preparation for the following two games but will not be allowed to coach those games, against Rutgers on Sept. 8 and Texas Christian on Sept. 15, before his reinstatement.

Athletic director Gene Smith will be on suspension from Friday to Sept. 16.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

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