It's a distraction, sure, but top-ranked Ohio State isn't letting the suspension of its top defensive player player shift the focus of the task at hand.
Following Saturday's beatdown of Maryland, the Buckeyes were supportive of Chase Young, who missed the first of potentially several games after it was revealed his borrowed money from a family friend last year.
“We're supporting him, and he's supporting us,” Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said after Saturday's game. “And we're going to get through it together and he knows we have his back. And that's important.”
A four-game suspension could be in the cards for Young based on the total payment amount, but since the money being returned, College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit believes it will be reduced. The absence is noteworthy during the season's final month considering Young's heightened starpower as a Heisman candidate.
“He's taking it day-to-day and he knows that he has the support of his teammates,” Day said. “He's going through a tough time. But again, adversity reveals character. And I can tell you right now, he's a special young man that's handling his business the right way, and we're all proud of him.”
National reaction was one-sided on Young, whom many fill should be reinstated. Here's some of the hottest takes:
The fact Chase Young even had to borrow money from a family member just so his girlfriend could come see him play in one of the biggest games of his life(?? Bowl) should tell you all you need to know. And since y’all always wanna know more he paid it back to his family member. ??????— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 9, 2019
The Los Angeles Lakers star has been outspoken over the past year on a variety of topics and didn't shy away from weighing in here. The problem for the Buckeyes is this — if Young does miss the next four games, he won't be eligible to return until a potential Big Ten Championship appearance. His absence however in matchups vs. Penn State and Michigan could prove detrimental to Ohio State's national title hopes.
Again from @CollegeGameDay this am Chase Young suspended 4 games based on the AMOUNT that was provided. It is slotted to 4 games. $ was paid back. VERY IMPORTANT.
OSU will gather intel/appeal and expect to hear back from NCAA next week. My guess 2 games after appeal.— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) November 9, 2019
So borrowing money to pay for a trip for your girlfriend to go to the Rose Bowl, and paying it back, is now subject to a 4 game suspension? I must be missing something here, right?— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) November 9, 2019
Herbstreit tries to explain his comments on GameDay and the likelihood Young's suspension is reduced to two games after he repaid the money. ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick needs clarity. He's asking what Young did to warrant a four-game suspension by the NCAA, especially since the money from a family friend was borrowed and not taken? Like everyone in the aftermath, there are many questions left unanswered.
On Fox's pregame show, Ryan Day was asked how OSU players have reacted to the Chase Young suspension: "They’ve been great. I think they feel adversity builds character and we want to show what our character is."— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) November 9, 2019
Think Buckeyes players used Young's absence as motivation? On the second play of the game on Saturday, Ohio State managed a sack and later humiliated Maryland defensively before giving up their first touchdown in the third quarter when the contest was long out of reach. The Buckeyes continue to play to a standard and the loss of the nation's sack leader had no bearing on the outcome. Impressive.
Talked to many OSU players and coaches about Chase Young suspension...all have been open and honest. Players told me Young addressed team, owned mistakes and felt really bad about being a distraction and promised he would do everything in his power to return ASAP. @CFBONFOX— Jenny Taft (@JennyTaft) November 9, 2019
From this report, it sounds like Young is remorseful for his actions — which is what he expressed in his public note published on Friday. At what point however should a player feel bad for borrowing money from a family friend for travel expenses under the condition he'd pay it back? Young may not have known this was an NCAA violation at the time of the transaction.
Meyer expects this situation to be handled swiftly.
“I first found out early in the week, talked to Gene Smith and was just as shocked as everybody,” Meyer said this week on FS1. “I think my understanding is the transparency – Chase and his family have been very forthright – which is the key whenever you’re dealing with NCAA issues. He’s working with Ohio State and the NCAA to get this thing wrapped up.
“My understanding is once again, the most important thing is transparency, honesty. He realized he made a mistake – this is what I always appreciated about a guy like Chase – he made a mistake, he owned it and he’s working to get it corrected.”
Chase Young go get ready for the league and u can take money from whoever u like until u get your checks. Everybody know what u can do so u don’t have to go back on that field. Man literally borrowed money to fly his girlfriend to see him what a damn shame.— Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) November 9, 2019
Interesting take from former NFL wideout Roddy White, who believes Young should shut it down for the rest of the season and prep for the NFL Draft if the NCAA is going to treat him this way. Young doesn't seem like the type to potentially bail on his teammates, but it would be the ultimate middle finger to the NCAA, letting them know he won't be playing in marquee spotlight games down the stretch if sidelined for the next three.
Urban Meyer: suspended 3 games for mishandling domestic assault allegations against Zach Smith and misrepresenting what he knew in a public statement.
Chase Young: expected to be suspended 4 games for accepting a loan from a family friend to fly his girlfriend to the Rose Bowl.— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) November 9, 2019
Sometimes, the easiest comparisons are the most obvious and prove a valid point. These are the uneven punishments and just goes to show the power the NCAA still has over universities. Ohio State is choosing to keep Young out while it tries to solves the situation whereas the University of Memphis, currently in the middle of a similar saga, has been granted a temporary injunction that allows five-star freshman James Wiseman to suit up.
Chase Young gets a longer suspension for accepting and paying back a small loan than Urban Meyer got for protecting a staff member for assaulting his wife.
Hard to wrap my head around that one.— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) November 9, 2019
Comparisons to Meyer's situation seem to be all the rage on social media this week considering Ohio State has been at the center of two of the biggest college football stories in the past five years over the last 15 months.
There’s not a lot of value in speculating on the length of the suspension today. But since that’s happening anyway ... the number I have heard repeatedly is two for Chase Young, not four. Ohio State expects to hear one way or another next week.— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) November 9, 2019
Plus-one for those in the two-game prediction pool. This is close to what Herbstreit clarified during Saturday's appearance on College GameDay and lines up with what's expected if Young did in fact pay back the loan.
If Chase Young accepted money, do you feel like it cheapened your experience of watching him as a pure amateur athlete these last two seasons?— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) November 8, 2019
Is this a serious question? Grab your popcorn and make sure you stick around for the comments. Young is the best defensive player in football. What he does off the gridiron shouldn't have much bearing on his status as amateur — nor do most college football fans care (I'm guessing).