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Tom Herman, Texas Longhorns head coach, was other Ohio State assistant on Zach Smith strip club trip

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Texas head coach Tom Herman was the assistant coach who accompanied former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith to a strip club while on a recruiting trip, an Ohio State spokesperson confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

The 2014 strip club trip also included high school coaches.

Smith's $600 involvement in the Miami-based excursion was noted in the school's detailed 23-page summary of its investigation released last week, although Smith was the only person named in the documents. The $600 came from Smith's own money, and he did not seek reimbursement for it from the football program or the school.

Upon discovering the information about the strip club trip, the investigators reported it to Ohio State's Office of University Compliance and Integrity and the Athletic Compliance Office to investigate whether the conduct violated NCAA rules.

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Under the terms of their suspensions, coach Urban Meyer and AD Gene Smith were allowed to meet with Ohio State players and coaches last Thursday.

Herman was the Buckeyes' offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2014, before taking over as head coach at Houston (2015-16) and then Texas (2017-present).

News of Herman's accompanying Smith to a strip club comes on the same day Ohio State released to the public some of the documents that its investigative team used while looking into the allegations made against head football coach Urban Meyer and others, providing detail into how involved parties first reacted at various stages.

The series of text messages, emails and handwritten notes reveal Meyer's reaction to the police investigating a domestic assault issue with Smith in October 2015. The documents also show how Meyer and others responded in the lead-up to Meyer's public comments last month that "misrepresented" what he knew about those 2015 allegations.

Meyer texted his agent, Trace Armstrong, hours before speaking to reporters on July 24 in Chicago at Big Ten media days and said Smith had been fired for "cumulative stuff. I will not tell the media."

Along with past allegations of domestic assault, investigators found a long list of transgressions in Smith's past, including: an affair with a member of the football staff; taking lewd photos on a team trip to the White House; and a noted drop in job performance during the past several years.

Investigators also received an anonymous tip that Smith entered a drug treatment facility in the summer of 2015, but the former assistant coach did not take it seriously and did not complete the required 10-day initial assessment before leaving. The anonymous tip arrived on the final afternoon of a two-week investigation. It's not clear whether investigators already had learned about the drug treatment trip, but their final assessment included a belief that Meyer did not "deliberately lie" when questioned about Smith's past.

Armstrong replied to Meyer's text with the following: "For sure. It was the totality of his choices ... but you had to do it. Only a matter of time before he did something that did substantial harm to you or the program."

He warned Meyer to be careful while answering questions from reporters, and Meyer responded: "Easy. Monitor for me. Amazingly all the stuff vs. Zach will get legally dropped and he was fired. Tuff perception world we live in."

Meyer told reporters on the afternoon of July 24 that he was not aware of any incident between Smith and his ex-wife that occurred in 2015. When questioned after police reports surfaced later that evening, Meyer told ESPN he was not aware of any other domestic-related issues that occurred during Smith's time as a coach at Ohio State.

Ohio State first learned about allegations made by Smith's ex-wife, Courtney, in 2015, when a police chief from their hometown of Powell, Ohio, contacted the university police chief, according to notes taken by an associate athletic director at Ohio State. Powell Police Chief Gary Vest told ESPN earlier this month he did not know how Ohio State learned about the allegations and said it would be against his department's protocol to inform the university. Those notes also indicate that a detective from Powell called an Ohio State football staff member the following day to tell him there was an ongoing investigation.

The same series of handwritten notes poses the question: "What would we do if this was a player?" It indicates that Smith would be restricted from recruiting and talking to reporters and be put on leave if charges were filed. No charges were filed in the case.

The notes from Oct. 30, 2015, also indicate that a reporter attempted to contact Courtney Smith and obtain public records regarding the situation. No story was published about the incident until last month.

Armstrong texted Meyer on Aug. 2 this year, the day after he was put on administrative leave, to let him know that two women were coming to his home and would "need four hours with your phone."

The day before, according to the investigative report, Meyer had a conversation with staff member Brian Voltolini about how to set his cellphone so that text messages that were more than a year old would not be retained on the phone. A week before that, Voltolini was notified by the university's Freedom of Information officer that the student newspaper had requested a record of Meyer's text messages from the fall of 2015. The investigators said they found no text messages on Meyer's phone that were more than a year old but could not determine when he adjusted his settings to make those disappear.

Meyer and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith were suspended over their handling of Zach Smith.

Meyer will resume some coaching duties, including running practices, on Monday, but he can't coach during the Buckeyes' first three games.

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Saturday, 20 October 2018