COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State knew it would be without six players for the opening game against Akron. But on Thursday evening, another bombshell was dropped on the program - three additional players will be suspended. Corey Brown, Jordan Hall and Travis Howard have all been suspended for Saturday's game after the university self-reported rules violations.
The players disclosed that they each received impermissible benefits of $300 or less at a charity event earlier this year.
Upon learning about this, the University contacted the NCAA and Big Ten Conference about the infractions. According to the regulations of the NCAA, the University will not allow them to play in the home opener. The players have applied for reinstatement but could face more penalties from the university in addition to the one-game bans.
"We take this matter seriously," Ohio State Director of Athletics Gene Smith said in a statement. "Our commitment to institutional integrity is steadfast, and we must hold everyone associated with our athletics programs accountable for lapses in judgment. We believe in transparency with the NCAA, all regulatory bodies and all of Buckeye Nation."
Ohio State is currently awaiting a ruling from the NCAA Committee on Infractions based upon the illegal trading of merchandise for tattoos and resulting cover-up. That ruling is expected to come down in October.
As for on the field, it appears that Dominic Clarke will get the battlefield promotion to the starting lineup in place of Howard. At running back, the deep corps gets a little thinner with Jaamal Berry already not listed on the depth chart. Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith will likely share a bulk of the carries. Corey 'Pittsburgh' Brown is slated as a backup to C.J. Barnett. Christian Bryant could fill in as the backup despite being penciled in as Orhian Johnson's relief.