Ohio State star defensive end Chase Young will not play on Saturday against Maryland while the school looks into what it is calling "a possible NCAA issue." An official statement from the program did not elaborate on the length of Young's absence or many specifics relating to the NCAA issue, only that it occurred "in 2018."
According to Young himself, the issue stems from a loan that he took from a family friend.
"Unfortunately, I won't be playing this week because of an NCAA eligibility issue," Young said in a statement posted to his Twitter account. "I made a mistake last year by accepting a loan from a family friend I've known since the summer before my freshman year at OSU. I repaid it in full last summer and I'm working with the University and NCAA to get back on the field as soon as possible. I want to thank my family, teammates, coaches and the whole Ohio State community for all the love and support. God bless and go Bucks!"
Young's attorney also explained that he is working to quickly restore the player's eligibility.
Chase took a small loan from a close family friend last year to cover basic life expenses. Loan was repaid months ago and we’re working to restore his eligibility. Unfair and outdated @NCAA rules punish athletes for making ends meet while enriching everyone else. https://t.co/2Jsqj7f7TR— Tim (@TimNevius) November 8, 2019
Young currently leads the nation in sacks, ranks No. 4 in tackles for loss and No. 2 in forced fumbles. After a dominant performance last time out against Wisconsin that included tying the single-game school record with four sacks and setting a new single-game school record with five tackles for loss in addition to two forced fumbles, he was even mentioned as a dark horse in the Heisman Trophy race.
CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd spoke with two sources who have intimate knowledge of NCAA bylaws regarding such situations. By tweeting that the had taken a loan from a "family friend", the situation becomes layered.
Young and Ohio State will have prove there was a preexisting relationship with that family friend, one that didn't relate to football. In other words, it would have to prove that it came from someone who was loaning money to Young out of the goodness of their heart. The NCAA will also ask Young, those sources said, why he didn't reveal the loan until now.
NCAA rules say that the infractions committee "may" vacate wins if the wrongdoing is considering bad enough. Worst case scenario for Ohio State, last year's Big Ten title could be impacted. If Young cannot prove a preexisting relationship, any games he played in after accepting the loan would have occured while he was ineligible. Any of those wins would be vacated.
What may come into play for Young's future on the field: NCAA withholding penalties assign a percentage of games suspended depending on the amount of money accepted.
The Buckeyes defense has given up just two touchdowns over the last 12 quarters and proven to be one of the most elite units in the country, and there's no doubt that Young's individual dominance is a big part of the math that helps that group overwhelm its opponents.
Young's absence is not expected to be a major issue against Maryland, seeing how the Buckeyes are favored by more than 40 points in the game at home, but if this issue keeps him out for extended time, we could see it being a game-changer for the massive back-to-back of Penn State on Nov. 23 and Michigan (in Ann Arbor) on Nov. 30 that closes out the Big Ten regular season.
With Young out, Ohio State has the fortune of turning to a deep and talented defensive line group to take his snaps in the lineup. At defensive end, specifically, the Buckeyes have a potential future star in freshman Zach Harrison that could be set for a breakout game against the Terps. Harrison was a five-star prospect from Ohio that ranked No. 12 overall in the 2019 recruiting class. So far this season Harrison has played in every game, recorded 1.5 sacks and three tackles for loss.
Young is also considered to be among the top players in the 2020 NFL Draft and would join a recent history of Buckeyes' defensive ends drafted in the top five with Joey and Nick Bosa.