Notable in his absence from Orange Bowl prep this week, the reports were that Noah Spence had violated a team rule and was working his way back into the good graces of the team with hopes that he would rejoin the Buckeyes in time to face Clemson.
Today, however, those hopes were dissolved, as it was announced that the sophomore from Pennsylvania has been suspended for three games for violations of conference rules, beginning with this week’s game in Miami.
While the specifics of the infractions are not yet know, it’s speculated that it may not have been one thing but instead a combination of concerns. In the statement from the University, printed below, special attention is made to Spence’s being Academic All-Conference, raising speculation that the issues may be classroom related.
Here’s the official word from Ohio State:
It has been determined that Ohio State University sophomore Noah Spence has violated a Big Ten Conference rule and he has been suspended for three games, starting with the Discover Orange Bowl this Friday.
Spence’s parents, who did not agree with the rule violation nor the penalty imposed, were assisted by the Ohio State Department of Athletics in exhausting the appeals process that was available to them with the Big Ten.
Spence is an Academic All-Big Ten honoree and an OSU Scholar-Athlete. He will continue course work toward his sociology degree next semester and he will be able to practice with the team this spring, but he will not be eligible to play in a game until Ohio State’s third game of the 2014 season, Sept. 13 vs. Kent State.
The Department of Athletics will have no further comment on this issue.
From the tone of that, it certainly sounds like it’s not just Noah’s parents who are frustrated, but that the University is disappointed with the result of the appeal as well.
Due to numerous factors, we may never know the full extent of the situation. However, we’ll keep you up to date as information becomes available.
*UPDATE- There’s a lot of speculation that this issue was one with an improper dietary supplement, and was detected during the B1G Championship’s mandatory screening.
*UPDATE 2- Not totally related, but it appears that Ohio State will also be without Bradley Roby for the game as well. Curtis Grant is medically cleared and will play.
NCAA says decision is “independent” of the NCAA enforcement process. “The enforcement investigation into th… (cont) http://t.co/R9fD2eK
It was confirmed by OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith that the three players suspended for accepting 200 dollars cash and attending a charity event without permission have been reinstated by the NCAA today and will be eligible to play against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday.
Running back Jordan Hall, Corner Travis Howard and safety Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown were all suspended for two games for taking those improper benefits at the charity event that took place this February. It is yet to be determined if Hall will automatically be inserted as the starter against Miami. Rod Smith and Carlos Hyde shared carries in the first two games of the season, with Hyde getting the majority of the workload. Hall was the projected starter heading into the season.
Howard will start in the secondary most likely on Saturday, barring any belief from the coaching staff that he isn’t ready to go. Dominic Clarke, who filled in for Howard, will still see a bunch of time on the field. Brown will continue to back up Orhian Johnson and C.J. Barnett.
Rusty Miller of the AP was the first to announce the reinstatement. Bill Rabinowitz of The Dispatch has since confirmed.
Gene Smith told Miller and the Associated Press on Saturday that he didn’t believe these three suspensions would affect the decisions of the NCAA that loom over the head of the University. He also added that Ohio State would plan to appeal a bowl ban if it was handed down to them by those capable of doing so
From the AP:
“I don’t think a postseason ban is warranted,” Smith said. “I’ve always said, that’s the one thing we would appeal. Anything else, we can accept. But I can’t speculate what (the NCAA is) going to do.”
Coach Fickell receives a bit more of a heads up that his players are returning than he did when they were suspended. The coaching staff found out just 48 hours before the opening of the season that it would be without Hall, Howard and Brown. It seemed that all three would be back before OSU’s battle with Toledo, but just 24 hours before game time, the coaching staff was informed that all three would be suspended for a second game.
All three players must pay 200 dollars back to charity before they are eligible to play a down.