Young, a Heisman Trophy hopeful considered one of college football’s top defenders, missed Ohio State’s blowout win over Maryland on Saturday as the school investigated the issue. Young said he accepted money from a family friend. The Athletic and others later reported that Young used that money to help his girlfriend attend the 2019 Rose Bowl. Young said he paid the money back in full.
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit reported on Saturday that Young, the 2016 All-Met Player of the Year from DeMatha Catholic High in Hyattsville, was likely to miss four games, with the length of the suspension linked to the size of the loan.
Instead, the NCAA completed its review this week, Ohio State said, and determined that Young should miss one more game, rather than receiving the immediate reinstatement for which Ohio State had asked. In a statement, Gene Smith, the school’s athletic director, thanked investigators for their speed.
“I appreciate the expedience to which the NCAA reviewed and responded to our request for reinstatement,” he said. “We felt that based on the circumstances, the NCAA would use its leadership capacity to take an understanding approach on behalf of all student-athletes who find themselves in a similar capacity, and it certainly did just that.”
It’s a huge relief for Buckeyes fans and Coach Ryan Day, who were planning for life without Young, potentially for the remainder of the season. A four-game suspension, as Herbstreit reported, would have kept Young out of games against No. 9 Penn State and No. 15 Michigan. A longer suspension would have jeopardized his status for potential appearances in the Big Ten title game and College Football Playoff.
Young wrote on Twitter that he was “excited to be back on the field next week” and “blessed to be a part of this team, this university and this community.”
Young has been a game-changer for Ohio State’s defense. His 13½ sacks this season still lead the nation, and he’s one away from the Buckeyes’ single-season record. He has recorded at least a half sack in 10 consecutive games, and he had four sacks three weeks ago in a dominant win over then-No. 13 Wisconsin.