Bob Evans Restaurants dropped an endorsement deal with Ohio State University coach Urban Meyer on Thursday amid reports that he’d kept silent about a colleague’s alleged domestic violence incident.
The Ohio-based restaurant chain said in a statement it would be suspending its “head breakfast coach” partnership deal with Meyer. The Buckeyes coach was placed on administrative leave Wednesday while the university investigates an explosive report accusing him of staying silent after an alleged 2015 domestic abuse situation involving former OSU assistant coach Zach Smith.
“At Bob Evans Restaurants, we believe strongly in the family first values upon which the company was founded,” the restaurant’s statement read. “We are suspending the current partnership with Urban Meyer and removing all related content pending the results of the official Ohio State University investigation.”
Meyer is accused of knowing in 2015 that Smith was involved in an alleged domestic dispute with his then-wife, Courtney Smith, college football reporter Brett McMurphy wrote on Wednesday.
Courtney Smith provided screen shots of text message conversations with several women married to men on the coaching staff, which she says indicate that Meyer was aware of the problem. She also told the sports network Stadium that she sent photos to Meyer’s wife, Shelley. The head coach’s wife responded by saying she was “going to have to tell Urban,” according to Smith.
Meyer told reporters last week at the Big Ten Media Day event in Chicago that he was aware of a 2009 incident involving Zach Smith, but said he was told “that what was reported wasn’t what actually happened.” The Buckeyes coach also said he didn’t know about any similar incidents from 2015 prior to addressing the media.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.