Ohio State will get Chase Young back when it will need him.
The NCAA ruled Wednesday that the star defensive end must sit out Saturday’s game against prohibitive underdog Rutgers as part of a two-game suspension for taking an improper loan last year.
But the ruling is a major victory for Ohio State. The Buckeyes will get back its their top defensive player — and one considered among the best nationally — for its the stretch run starting Nov. 23 against Penn State.
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"Excited to be back on the field next week!" Young posted on Twitter. "Thank you Buckeye Nation for all the love and support. I’m blessed to be a part of this team, this university, and this community. Lots of love to my family. God Bless and Go Bucks!"
Young was held out of last week’s game against Maryland because of a possible NCAA violation related to a loan that he said he received from a family friend last year. The Dispatch learned it was for airfare to last season’s Rose Bowl.
Excited to be back on the field next week! Thank you Buckeye Nation for all the love and support. I’m blessed to be a part of this team, this university, and this community. Lots of love to my family. God Bless and Go Bucks!— CY2 (@youngchase907) November 13, 2019
Ohio State received a tip on Sept. 27, the day after the Wisconsin game, about the loan. OSU then questioned Young, who acknowledged taking the loan and provided documentation that it had been repaid.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, who addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon, said the tip did not come from anyone in the Big Ten, including Maryland or Penn State, as has been rumored.
Smith would not divulge the amount of the loan.
The athletic department’s compliance office finished its investigation into the matter and submitted its report to the NCAA on Tuesday.
"There's a lot of people who, in my past, you don't go to war for because there may be serial behavioral issues," Smith said. "This young man is at the top of the pyramid.
"I'm sure when the NCAA staff reviewed it, considered his history — he doesn't have a blemish. We're educators, and when you have someone like that who made an honest mistake as he did, but becomes transparent in everything that we needed him to do, there’s no question in my mind the (NCAA) staff probably considered that in making their decision as a mitigating factor."
Smith praised the NCAA for acting quickly to resolve the case.
"They were phenomenal," he said. "The staff changes that have occurred over there have been positive. We worked with them along the way maybe every day or every other day. They know we're cooperative and do our due diligence. I think they moved exceptionally fast considering we gave them the submission Tuesday morning and got a response this morning. That’s pretty fast."
Based strictly on NCAA guidelines, Young could have been suspended for four games. Ohio State requested immediate reinstatement. Smith said Ohio State decided not to appeal the NCAA’s decision to have Young sit out the Rutgers game in addition to the Maryland game.
"Everyone is in agreement with that, including the Young family," Smith said.
He said OSU would have if appealed if the NCAA had issued a longer suspension.
The NCAA said it would not comment on its decision. Young’s attorney, Tim Nevius, declined to comment when reached by The Dispatch.
Young leads the country in sacks with 13½ and also has been a force in stopping the run. He has forced five fumbles and blocked a kick as the centerpiece of a vastly improved Buckeyes defense.
Until last week, he was considered a bona fide contender for the Heisman Trophy, a rarity for a defensive player. Young is projected as the possible No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NFL draft.
"It’s great (to have Young back) because we need him coming into this last stretch," Ohio State safety Jahsen Wint said after Wednesday’s practice.
Smith said Young did not consider leaving the team as a result of the suspension.
"He could have not cooperated, tried to cover it up and said, ‘I’m going pro,’" Smith said. "No, he wanted to come back and play with his brothers. And so at the end of the day, he was transparent, he was honest, he was forthright. That's what you want in your student-athletes."
Smith also praised coach Ryan Day, for whom the Young matter was the first major adversity he has faced in his first season. Ohio State is 9-0 and is second in the College Football Playoff ranking.
"He kept his focus, never lost his cool, was curious, (asked) lots of questions," Smith said. "I thought he was perfect. We never lost the focus, and the focus was on the other guys. You know, we’ve got to help Chase, but I’ve got these other kids (to coach also)."