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Four Suspensions That Shaped Ohio State Football

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Matt Gutridge's picture
November 15, 2019 at 6:15am
Chase Young
Had Chase Young been suspended for the remainder of the season, he likely would have made this list.

Chase Young's two-game suspension could have been much, much worse for him and Ohio State. Had the NCAA decided to withhold Young for the remainder of this season, his incident would be listed below. Fortunately, it appears his suspension will likely not harm the team. 

Let's take a stroll down unpleasant memory lane and look at some football suspensions of the past that made significant impacts on the individual, the team and the university. 

Below are four suspensions that are listed in order of their impact on the program. 

Maurice Clarett – 2003

The Infraction: In this case, it was infractions. The first incident occurred in July of 2003 when an Ohio State teaching assistant informed the New York Times that Clarett was receiving preferential treatment with his academics. Ohio State investigated the claims, but did not find enough evidence for academic misconduct. 

A Sports Illustrated article in 2003 was a sign of ominous things to come.

Clarett's relationship, already strained due to the academic investigation and events that transpired heading into the BCS Nationalal Championship game, came to a head after Clarett filed a false police report. The star running back's car was broken into and Clarett claimed he had more than $10,000 in clothing, CDs, cash and stereo equipment stolen from the vehicle. 

After Andy Geiger's investigation it was disclosed that Clarett took in special benefits totaling more than $20,000. Clarett was subsequently suspended from the team.  

The Impact: The 2003 team continued its winning ways, but the 19-game winning streak came to a halt in Week 6 at Wisconsin. The team also lost for the first, and only time, to Michigan with Jim Tressel as head coach. With Clarett on the team, the Buckeyes would have been favored to win the Big Ten and have a shot at another national championship.   

The Fallout: After scoring the winning touchdown against Miami, Clarett never played for Ohio State again. He spent two years in Los Angeles as he fought the NFL to waive it's rule that a player must be three years out of high school to be eligible for the draft. He was unsuccessful in court and was eventually drafted by the Broncos with the final pick of the 3rd round in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Clarett's NFL career did not pan out and he found himself on the wrong side of the law.

The academic inquiry and false police report turned the national news spotlight on Columbus for off the field incidents. The heightened national awareness of Ohio State wrongdoing was the backdrop for future events.  

Cris Carter – 1987

The Infraction: Before the start of his senior season, Carter signed with sports agent, Norby Walters. NCAA rules prohibit a player from signing with an agent and Carter was ruled ineligible for the season. 

Earle Bruce
If Cris Carter didn't sign with an agent, would this picture exist?

The Impact: Carter was already Ohio State's record holder for career receptions with 168. He was the home-run threat for the offense and the Buckeyes were expected to put up big numbers with the electrifying receiver.

Instead, Ohio State muddled through a disappointing 6–4–1 season. The tie was at LSU in a game that the Buckeyes had a chance to win at the end. The four losses included the program's first loss to Indiana since 1951 and a three-game losing streak near the end of the season. 

The Fallout: Carter was selected by the Eagles in the 1987 supplemental draft and only had 5 catches for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns his rookie season. Earle Bruce was fired the week heading into The Game and the ensuing coaching search brought John Cooper to the Ohio State sidelines.

The '87 season was a missed opportunity for a team that was expected to contend for the Big Ten title. Carter's infraction was another piece in the puzzle that led to the firing of Earle Bruce and the beginning of the John Cooper era in Columbus. 

Urban Meyer  – 2018

The Infraction: The mishandling of domestic violence allegations against Zach Smith. 

The Impact: Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season. Ryan Day was named the interim coach and the team dispatched Oregon State, Rutgers and TCU with flying colors. However, the off-season debacle was a major distraction and was an omnipresent cloud that hung over the team for the rest of the season. 

Urban Meyer
Did Meyers' loyalty to Earle Bruce lead to the Smith situation and retirement?

The Fallout: The incident made many Ohio State fans to view Meyer in a negative light, while it rallied others to defend their coach. In the end, Meyer's arachnoid cyst on his brain and health concerns led to him retiring at the end of the 2018. However, it can be argued that the suspension contributed to the cyst and health concerns.

With Meyer's retirement, Ryan Day became the 25th head coach at Ohio State and has his team on pace to set several Ohio State scoring records.   

Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas  – 2011

The Infraction: Selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits.

The Impact: Adams, Herron, Posey, Pryor and Thomas were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. Pryor opted not to rejoin the team and was selected by the Raiders in the 2011 supplemental draft. Jim Tressel was suspended for the first two games of the season and eventually resigned. 

Adams, Posey and Thomas came back to the team after serving their five game suspensions. Herron had to sit out an additional game for getting overpaid for a summer job. Surprisingly, Herron was named a captain by his teammates for the 2011 season. 

Luke Fickell was named the interim coach, but he was up against it with the losses of Tressel and Pryor and the suspended players. Despite Fickell's best efforts, Ohio State had its first losing season since 1988 and only the second in 46 seasons. 

The Fallout: Tressel moved on from coaching and is now the president at Youngstown State. Urban Meyer was hired in May of 2012 and guided the team to an undefeated season in his first year and a national title in 2014. Meyer also continued the program's dominance against Michigan by becoming the first Ohio State coach to win seven straight in the series. Luke Fickell was retained on Meyer's coaching staff as co-defensive coordinator. 

Unrealistically hopeful that this piece never needs an update.

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