Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce said a two- or three-game suspension might be an appropriate penalty for wide receiver Cris Carter.

"You know that when that team runs out there {in Ohio State's season opener} Sept. 12 against West Virginia, it is really going to hurt him that he's not a part of it," Bruce said. "To have to sit and watch, you don't think that's a penalty? One, two, three games . . . that's a hell of a penalty."

Bruce said the NCAA's decision to reinstate the eligibility of former Pittsburgh defensive back Teryl Austin changed his thinking about Carter's situation.

"I don't think everything is the same as it was 60 days ago," Bruce said. "When we made that decision {to make Carter ineligible}, the NCAA had never made an interpretation like they made in the Austin case. I want the people who finally win to be college football and the schools, and I really don't want to see a young man, 21 years old, who has made a mistake, have both arms cut off."

Ohio State Athletic Director Rick Bay, Bruce's boss, said Saturday he opposed appealing Carter's case to the NCAA and said the chances were remote that he would change his mind after a meeting with Bruce and university president Edward Jennings today.

Carter, an all-America selection as a junior and the Buckeyes' all-time leading pass catcher, was kicked off the team July 16 after admitting he accepted money from sports agents Norby Walters and Lloyd Bloom.