Report: Urban Meyer Covered Up Zach Smith’s Use of Racial Slur to Trevon Grimes
EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 10: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on November 10, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

According to a report from Brett McMurphy of Stadium, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was aware of an “alleged racially-charged altercation in September 2017” between former assistant coach Zach Smith and Trevon Grimes and “helped keep it quiet.”

Ohio State and Smith have denied those allegations, however. Grimes has since transferred to Florida.

“Zach got up in his face and called him a ‘bitch ass n—-‘ and said, ‘I should have never recruited you,'” Trevon Grimes’ father, LeBron, told McMurphy. “And then Trevon said something to Zach about him messing around with college girls.”

“Trevon told us Zach called him a ‘b–ch ass n—–‘ and a ‘prima donna’ among other things,” Dennis Allen, a close friend of the Grimes’ family, added. “Coaching is coaching. That’s not the way you talk to athletes. When Tre told me he wasn’t getting along with his receivers coach, it was all Zach, mistreating him, calling him (racial slurs).”

Ohio State President Michael V. Drake responded to the report:

“The Ohio State University unequivocally and vehemently disputes the unfounded allegations by Brett McMurphy. Any allegations of racism are outrageous and false. The university told McMurphy that we have found no evidence to support these allegations. Reporting in this manner is irresponsible, inflammatory and a severe invasion of privacy of a student athlete and his family as well as a baseless personal attack on Coach Meyer. It is regrettable that McMurphy and his employer would use such poor judgment in running this inaccurate story.”

Smith was fired from Ohio State in July after it was reported publicly he had abused his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. Meyer initially claimed he wasn’t aware of any domestic violence charges regarding Smith, though later recanted that story and was suspended three games for his handling of the situation.

LeBron Grimes told McMurphy that he called Meyer to speak about the incident, but Meyer told him he was busy and said he’d call back, though reportedly never did. He also said he called Smith to ask him about the incident and was told, “Your son isn’t coachable. He has this chip on his shoulder with whatever issues your family has.”

Zach Smith denied making that statement, and in early November, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith released a statement: “We have found no evidence that there was a physical altercation or racially charged remarks between Zach Smith and Trevon Grimes…racially charged behavior is not accepted or tolerated within our program.”

Wide receiver Eli Goins did say there was an altercation between Smith and Grimes, however, noting, “It didn’t get like they were throwing punches, but we did have to break them up.”

Other Ohio State wideouts denied any racially charged altercations:

Trevon Grimes eventually transferred to Florida ahead of the 2018 season and received a hardship waiver from the NCAA since his mother, Leah, had been diagnosed with stage IV epithelial ovarian cancer. 

Leah Grimes denied in no uncertain terms that her son transferred to Florida due to an altercation with Zach Smith, adding that neither her or Trevon Grimes have had any contact with LeBron Grimes in recent years.

“He is an abuser and the worst kind of role model, and he is no longer in TreVon’s life,” she said in a statement.

Trevon also denied, through a Florida spokesperson, having any contact with LeBron over the past two years.

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