This past Friday, Ohio State did a document dump of emails and text messages from their investigation of Urban Meyer and my ex-husband. I have spent much of the weekend sifting through documents and trying to sort everything out. As one can imagine, for years I’ve had so many questions I’ve been unable to find answers to. Even as I sift through these documents, I still don’t have the answers I’m looking for and now even more questions have surfaced. To be frank, I am beside myself going through these documents and rightfully so! I have never seen these communications and I cannot believe some of the things that were said. Not only did it take a year for these messages to be released, but they are heavily redacted to a level that is unacceptable.
I’ve always known that my ex-husband was a master liar and manipulator, who used his skills to hone in on those around him that were the most powerful. Urban and other members of the athletic staff were so convinced everything was a “non issue,” I was just a “crazy” ex-wife and it was all he said/she said stuff. So much so, they brushed off every incident he was involved in, took him at his word, and were confident all charges would be dropped. There is an obvious display of arrogance and ignorance throughout the text messages. It is even more obvious, people who originally claimed to know nothing about his issues, particularly about the domestic violence that occurred, were not truthful. It is appalling that not only did Urban and his OSU advisers know about Zach’s legal troubles, they used their power to protect and enable, not just an abusive man, but an incompetent and unscrupulous employee and they did so at a level I cannot comprehend.
In this post, I’m going to delve into what I have discovered from the documents and discuss my situation as it relates to the information that was released.
The one really big story that went viral this past weekend was, Alabama wanted to hire Zach. I don’t know why this story went viral when there were so many other more important things to focus on in those texts. I suppose it’s a perfect example of people caring more about recruiting battles and pettiness between rival schools, than real issues like domestic abuse and assault. However, since the story went viral I’m going to address it very briefly first.
I tweeted over the weekend, Zach did interview for a job at Alabama and initially, Coach Saban was interested in him, which was true. Over the weekend, Coach Saban stated in an interview, after a “background check” they decided not to hire him, which is also true. A background check in the college profession, is essentially informally asking other people about a coach’s work ethic, personal life, and coaching acumen. One person Coach Saban spoke with, was a female who worked full-time in the football offices at Alabama. She had a brief relationship with my ex-husband in 2015 that ended badly. I know this because she tracked me down through a friend to talk to me about the situation. She was really kind to me and expressed concern for me and my kids and was fearful of Zach…rightfully so.
I don’t want to say too much about it because I don’t want to hurt her and I imagine, neither does Coach Saban. Below, I will share one text message between us. I also want to point out, she is not the only person I spoke with who had a bad experience with my ex-husband. I’m writing a post titled, I’m Not Alone, and I’m going to talk about my dealings with people who felt compelled to reach out to talk to me about their experience with Zach. I will repeat over and over in this blog – abusers don’t just wake up one day and stop being abusive. Abusive people don’t know how to deal with situations or people in a way that is reasonable and functional, and when one target is unreachable, they move on to another.
I also want to point out something that no one seems to be picking up on – if Urban wanted my ex-husband gone and wanted him to take the Alabama job, why did my ex think he had the option of turning it down? Why did he say that he was going to sleep on it before “deciding” if he would take the job? My ex-husband had a way of twisting things with Urban, manipulating him and taking advantage of how he, like many other head coaches, was much too busy with running a major college football program to be bothered with insignificant details. Enough about Alabama though, it’s a stupid, trivial story and for once I agree with my ex, let’s all move on to more important things.
Lastly, Urban writes “we got you through the shit,” I’d like really to know about all the shit they got him through.
Urban and Shelley Texts
Below is the redacted text exchange between Shelley and Urban. This exchange was actually released after the investigation was complete last Fall and I’m surprised people are just now aware of it and expressing shock over it? To me it is the biggest thing that stood out and the one exchange I believe should have gotten the most attention.
Reading her comments about Zach actually leaves me feeling both angry and hurt. I don’t understand how Shelley could come out publicly during the media frenzy and say she “doubted the veracity of my claims” and then turn around and privately text to Urban about my ex, “It’s obvious he has anger/rage issues,” When I first spoke with her about the domestic abuse I was dealing with, she only ever expressed concern for me. During the Powell PD investigation, she never once told me or anyone else she doubted me. What was her experience with Zach’s rage/anger issues? Why would she feel that way about him? I think their exchange is really reflective of the divide between Urban and Shelley when it came to Zach. From what I was told during that time, Shelley wanted Zach fired and for a period, it created friction between her and Urban. I don’t know if she felt pressured to say that about me because she wanted to save Urban’s job and truthfully, I can’t even blame her for that, or if she was angry with me for coming out publicly and how it affected her family. I am just extremely hurt that she would publicly cut into my credibility when she knew and believed Zach had issues with substance abuse, alcohol and anger/rage.
Shelley also writes “U should call Mikki after and tell her to check on him? Not Lynn.” This also really stands out to me because Lynn Bruce is Zach’s mother and Mikki is Lynn’s sister, Zach’s aunt. Urban and Shelley have long been connected to his family and Urban has called Earle Bruce, Zach’s deceased grandfather, his mentor. When I did my interview, Lynn fired back by doing an interview with Jeff Snook, another longtime family friend, along with my estranged mother (post about estranged mother w/audio interview from PPD). In the interview, Lynn boldly claimed I was unstable and had a drinking problem. She provided no evidence for it and their claims have become the rallying cry for the Zach Smith Apologists club. It was well known among the football staff and in the community, Zach came from a very entitled family; they all basked in the attention and privilege his position and being the family of the late coach, Earle Bruce, brought to them. To this day, they brush aside Zach’s missteps, make excuses for his behavior, straight up lie for him and participate in some of the destructive things he still does. However, they publicly claim I have issues with alcohol and violence, but have failed to mention Zach’s issues with alcohol and substance abuse and their own history of violent behavior and alcohol problems. You’ll find a few of their police reports below. (note their attorney, Chris Cicero, does anyone remember him?)
If anyone is interested, I welcome them to do a background check on me, I welcome anyone to provide evidence for the allegations that have been made against me – DUI’s, calling 911 66 times, trying to run my ex over with a car, showing up to practices drunk and threatening to bomb people, etc. It’s laughable and I know that many want these claims about me to be true, but sorry to say, if anyone is looking for anything on me, they will be very disappointed. One of the many reasons I started this blog, is to help educate others on what it feels like to be the “scapegoat.” A scapegoat is a person who is blamed for the mistakes, faults or wrongdoings of others.
Smith/Bruce Family Arrest Records
Included in the document dump were messages between Urban and Tim Kight discussing my marriage to Zach. Tim Kight owns a company called Focus 3 and was considered one of Urban’s biggest advisers, he worked with the players/coaches and was very involved in high level decisions that affected the way Urban managed the football program. I don’t know Tim Kight on a personal level and I can’t think of a single conversation I’ve ever had with this man. However, not only was he involved in “counseling” my ex-husband, he was also advising Urban on what to say to the media about our relationship. The first exchange I’m referring to is the one below, where he advises Urban to say “It appears both of them contributed to the problems in their relationship.”
Really Tim? Can you please explain to me how I contributed to the failings in our relationship? I’d really like to hear this because I can’t think of a single time I’ve ever spoken to Tim Kight about anything in my life. Here is the problem with people like Tim Kight and Urban – at every turn they always took Zach at his word. It didn’t matter the lie or excuse he would tell them, they would never take the time to verify anything he said. I knew through multiple sources inside the athletic offices, that post-divorce, Zach would tell anyone and everyone I was crazy, lying, trying to frame him, trying to ruin his life, etc., when in reality I just wanted him to let me live my life. He always knew he could get away with anything he did as long as he played the victim and came up with a good enough excuse and guess what? This method he uses to manipulate and con people, is still effective to this day.
When I line up the dates of Tim’s text messages, it was obvious to me he was counseling Zach during some very critical times. Such as the time in Jan 2018, when I took my kids to Disney World for vacation and Zach tried to have me and my boyfriend (now fiance) arrested for kidnapping, even though according to our parenting plan it was permissible. Before we left, Zach agreed to the vacation and suddenly, changed his mind and expected us to change our vacation plans. Strangely, unlike my ex-husband the Powell PD declined to even investigate this “kidnapping” and have never once had reason to charge me with anything.
Text message Zach sent to my boyfriend
The other exchange was in May 2018, shortly after Zach was arrested for Criminal trespassing, after he violated a trespass warning issued by the Powell Police. It’s strange for me to read this, given they all claimed to know nothing about that arrest. The last exchange I took note of was Urban’s text to Tim, “So I will have to answer why we released him. We know the answer. Yet I won’t share all the other issues.” What other issues could Urban be referring to?
Urban and Dr. Andy Thomas
The last exchange that really struck me was the exchange between Dr. Andy Thomas and Urban. If memory serves, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Borchers were involved in admitting Zach to rehab in late May 2016. The bill for his stint in rehab was shared between Ohio State and my ex-husband’s family and it was quite costly. Zach never completed his stay in rehab and no one from Ohio State ever checked with the facility to verify he was able to leave. He simply disappeared for a few days and returned to work as if nothing ever happened.
In this redacted text exchange dated May 30, 2018, Dr. Thomas sends a text to Urban, “Sounds like we need to talk about Zach. Are you free?” I don’t know what was going on during that period of Zach’s life, we did not speak very often, however, since he had a history of issues with alcohol, substance abuse and mental health struggles, it’s quite possible that he was bottoming out again. This was a year after he was sent to rehab and a couple of weeks after he was arrested for criminal trespass on May 12, 2018.
It’s apparent to me from text exchanges dating as far back as December 5, 2017, Urban and the other staff members were struggling to keep Zach on track for many months. In one exchange, Urban is telling Mark Pantoni “just checking on Zach Smith. Make sure he is working” as if it was expected the other staff members would take no issue with babysitting a grown man. In another exchange, Urban and Mark Pantoni are discussing Zach possibly lying about missing his flight. Given his past behavior while on the road recruiting, it’s quite possible he either got drunk at a bar or got caught up with a female and missed his flight.
It’s leaves me in a state of immense confusion, when I think of all the times my ex-husband shirked his responsibilities and everyone on the staff at Ohio State just accepted it. Do they have any understanding of how acting as a shield for Zach impacted the lives of me and my children?
The 8–10 months before he was arrested for criminal trespass were especially difficult for me and my children. I had really started to rebuild my life by going to nursing school full-time and I also met an amazing partner and role model for my children, who is now my fiance, but Zach was not supportive of this, so he made life hell for us. He contacted any man I ever dated and tried to end it as soon as he could, but with my new boyfriend it was different and he knew it. This lead my ex-husband to become extremely volatile and controlling. He was having difficulty watching me and my children forge a happier and healthier path for ourselves. I now wonder if he was in fact dealing with substance abuse again. Things had gotten so bad between us, I started recording his calls to me; you can listen to excerpts below:
- Zach angry I’m in a relationship with someone who is close to my kids. I tell Zach the kids are scared to death of him.
- Zach raging about a pumpkin patch trip I took the kids to.
- Zach wants to brainwash kids
Things finally reached a head on the day he was arrested for criminal trespass. I had enough of his constant harassment of me, my fiance and his children, and his defiance of the Powell Police. When his arrest ended up in the media, he and his attorney came out publicly and accused me of setting him up. This was 100% false and all the text messages between us were submitted to Powell Police as proof. He was so defiant of the PPD that he thought nothing of calling them up and essentially taunting them. His calls are below and I have also attached our text exchange from that day. Below are a couple of pages from the police report where I tell the officer, Zach had gotten really bad lately to the point that I had to block him from my phone. Full access to the report is here Zach Smith Criminal Trespass Report.
- Zach’s calls to Powell PD during criminal trespassing incident where he’s being a smart ass to the officer and then doesn’t realize he is being recorded and appears to be saying he’s going to fight an officer (part 2 @ 2:26 mark)
Powell Police report
Text exchange from that day
Lastly, I wanted to include this hilarious image of a flowchart of emails between my ex-husband and a staff member that someone posted online. It is perfect representation of what life is like dealing with someone like my ex-husband.