As it turns out, one of Ohio State’s top defenders didn’t miss the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl because he used a dietary supplement.
First reported to have been suspended for the use of a dietary supplement, OSU sophomore defensive end Noah Spence’s three-game ban is because he tested positive for ecstasy, according to a Tuesday report by abc27 of Harrisburg, Pa.
The report states Spence’s father, Greg Spence, said his son tested positive for “a small amount of ecstasy” prior to the Big Ten Championship game Dec. 7 against Michigan State.
Greg Spence also said the conference originally suspended his son for a year, according to the report, because it considers the substance to be a performance enhancing drug. He added that his son consumed the drug accidentally after taking an open drink from someone he did not know at a party.
In the state of Ohio, possession of the Schedule I drug in its smallest form results in a felony of the fifth degree, with penalties of six months to a year in jail and no more than a $2,500 fine. In the United States, possession of five grams or more of the drug has a penalty of anywhere between five and 40 years in prison.
The Spence family appealed Noah Spence’s year-long ban, which was ultimately reduced to three games, according to the report. The report also stated that the NCAA considers ecstasy to be a “street drug,” which carries a lesser penalty. A second appeal was unsuccessful.
After not traveling with the team to Miami for the Orange Bowl against Clemson — in which the Buckeyes fell to the Tigers, 40-35 — OSU coach Urban Meyer was asked about Noah Spence’s absence.
“Noah didn’t fly down with us,” Meyer said in a press conference Dec. 29. “He’s working through some personal issues at home.”
Noah Spence was then suspended for three games Jan. 1 after it was determined that he had “violated a Big Ten Conference rule,” according to an university press release.
An OSU spokesman said “we will have no further comment” on the situation in an email to The Lantern Tuesday.
Noah Spence led the Buckeyes with eight sacks in 2013 and finished second on the team with 14.5 tackles for loss. Prior to the start of the season, Meyer spoke highly of the sophomore, stating how well he handles himself away from the football field.
“Extremely high character, go hard. When I tell our coaches to go out and find players, (Noah Spence is) who you go find. Very, very talented guy that has incredible self discipline, self respect. I love Noah Spence,” Meyer said at OSU Media Day Aug. 11.
Meyer also called Noah Spence and fellow sophomore defensive lineman Adolphus Washington two players who are “potential candidates for all-conference one day.”
Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said after arriving in Miami that it would “be a huge loss” if Noah Spence was unable to play against the Tigers, and his presence was surely missed, as redshirt-senior quarterback Tajh Boyd and company posted 576 total yards of offense, including 378 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
The abc27 report also said the Spence family plans to file a lawsuit against the Big Ten.
Continued attempts to contact Noah Spence and his family for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday evening.
After serving his suspension, Noah Spence figures to be a large contributor for the Buckeyes in 2014.