The Ohio State football contingent and college football world at large awoke to shocking news Friday, when one of its biggest stars, Chase Young, was ruled out indefinitely for an NCAA violation.
What first seemed a catastrophic gut-punch to then-top-ranked Ohio State’s chances at a trip to New Orleans quickly dissipated into a mere blip on the Buckeyes’ radar, as the Department of Athletics announced Young will miss just one more game Wednesday.
Athletic director Gene Smith said Ohio State filed for its junior defensive end’s reinstatement Tuesday morning, which the NCAA concluded Wednesday will result in him being ineligible for the Rutgers game.
“[Young] is a kid who admitted, ‘I made a mistake,’ and he went public with it and apologized to his teammates, apologized to all of Buckeye Nation,” Smith said. “He didn’t have to do that. He could’ve not cooperated, try to cover it up and say, ‘I’m going pro.’ No. He wanted to come back and play with his brothers.”
Hours after the news of his suspension became public, Young released a statement on social media that said the violation stemmed from a loan he accepted, and later paid back in full, from a family friend. Young said his relationship with this person began during the summer ahead of his first season at Ohio State.
Smith said Young’s violation was an infringement upon NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168, which states preferential treatment, benefits and services based on athletic reputation or payback potential is only allowed if specifically permitted by the NCAA.
Smith said Ohio State found out about the violation Oct. 27, the day after beating Wisconsin.
“I want to be clear that the accusations did not come from anyone from Maryland, did not come from anyone from Penn State, or any other school in the Big Ten conference,” Smith said.
He declined to comment on who did report the issue to Ohio State or how much money the loan was.
Reports from ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit Saturday aroused speculation that Young may be suspended for four games, which would’ve meant the nation’s sack leader would be out for the Buckeyes’ matchups with No. 9 Penn State and No. 15 Michigan.
However, university spokesperson Jerry Emig announced after Ohio State’s 73-14 rout of Maryland that those reports were untrue.
“One of our own, Kirk Herbstreit, was trying to lay out the scenarios,” Smith said. “So I want to make it clear that from what I understand, from what I heard, he was trying to lay out the scenarios, and we’re really appreciative of the fact that he was trying to lay that out. I think a lot of that was misunderstood what he was trying to represent and share.”
Missing only Maryland and Rutgers means a bullet dodged for the Buckeyes. The two teams have won a combined one of 12 Big Ten games this season, and Ohio State recorded more sacks against the Terrapins than it had in any game with Young on the field this season.
The Buckeyes blew its 42.5-point spread against Maryland out of the water, and they are favored by nearly 10 more points against the Scarlet Knights.
Smith said the penalty was never more than two games, but said all parties agreed not to appeal the suspension.
“Let’s be clear. A violation occurred,” Smith said. “So what you do, you make a business decision: You sit him now, or you sit him later, because he was going to sit. So it’s just a matter of when and how many.”
Young is set to make his return in Ohio State’s Nov. 23 matchup with No. 9 Penn State at Ohio Stadium.