'You can't play everybody': Ohio State linebacker K'Vaughan Pope quits team during Akron game
Ohio State linebacker K'Vaughan Pope was escorted to the locker room by a team official during the second quarter of the Buckeyes' 59-7 win over Akron on Saturday night following a heated exchange with coaches on the sideline.
The altercation was reportedly prompted when he was not substituted onto the field for a series.
In a pair of since-deleted tweets, Pope later wrote during the second quarter, “good lucc (sic) to my teammates” and “f-- ohio state," using a slang spelling for the obscenity.
K'Vaughan Pope outed from team:Linebacker K'Vaughan Pope dismissed from Ohio State football team following outburst
The Big Ten Network, which was broadcasting the game, reported that Pope quit the team. He also threw his gloves into the stands in frustration before leaving the field, according to the telecast.
Coach Ryan Day said in his postgame news conference that he was unaware of the tweets and declined to comment on Pope’s status with the team.
“I'm going to get the details of everything that happened before I say anything," Day said.
Playing time has been sparse this season for Pope, a senior who has remained a backup throughout his career with the Buckeyes.
Postgame updates:Ohio State Buckeyes top Akron 59-7
Appearing in the first three games, he had three tackles and a pass breakup. In the past two games against Oregon and Tulsa, he played for 31 snaps on defense, according to Pro Football Focus, and on only special teams in the season-opening win at Minnesota.
When asked if Pope's outburst was a sign of any tension within the locker room, especially after the Buckeyes earlier this month suffered their first regular-season loss since 2018, Day dismissed the idea.
"What it is I think is that a lot of want to play," he said, "and you can't play everybody, and then frustration kicks in. I certainly think it's very isolated."
The Buckeyes did see another veteran linebacker leave the team earlier this week in Dallas Gant, who put his name in the NCAA transfer portal.
Day considered Gant's departure to be related to a desire to qualify for a redshirt season since players who appear in four or fewer games can redshirt. By leaving early in the season, Gant can then join another program with two seasons of eligibility left.
"If they want to go into the portal, that's their prerogative," Day said. "I have a hard time with that because I think, when you make a commitment to a team at the beginning of the year and you make a commitment to Ohio State and the Buckeyes, then that's what you do."