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Gene Smith Says Complaint About Chase Young Didn’t Come From Big Ten Opponents

Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith answers questions during a news conference on Dec. 4, 2018, in Columbus.
Jay LaPrete
Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith

Speaking to reporters for the first time since star football player Chase Young was suspended, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith outlined the process for pulling him from the field but did not release many details about the infraction itself.

Smith’s comments came five days after the school deactivated Young for a possible NCAA rules violation. Young says he took and eventually repaid a loan from a person Young describes as a family friend.

Smith refused to discuss details of Young’s violation other than saying Young broke a NCAA rule prohibiting preferential treatment for student athletes.

“It’s a piece of legislation that’s been our books since the ‘90s. A very important piece of legislation relative to recruiting and inducements,” Smith said.

Smith says it was not another Big Ten team that reported the infraction. Fox announcers Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt during last week’s game against Maryland were widely criticized for insinuating it might have been Maryland that reported Young to the NCAA.

Smith also said the complaint came directly to Ohio State, which then forwarded it to the NCAA. He says Ohio State received the complaint on October 27, 12 days before school officials announced Young would not play against Maryland.

On Wednesday, Ohio State announced that in addition to last week’s game against Maryland, Young would also sit out this Saturday’s game against Rutgers and would be eligible to return to play November 23 against Penn State.

Smith said Ohio State could have appealed the two-game suspension but declined to do so. He said the school likely would have appealed anything more than two games.

Young is widely considered the best defensive player in college football and is considered a top NFL prospect should he decide to turn pro following the season.