Presser Bullets: Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith Addresses Chase Young's Suspension, Reinstatement

By Dan Hope on November 13, 2019 at 5:56 pm

Hours after Ohio State announced star defensive end Chase Young would be suspended one more game by the NCAA before returning for next week's game against Penn State, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith met with the media at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday evening to discuss Ohio State's process of working with the NCAA to get Young reinstated.

Here's a quick recap of what he had to say:

  • Smith opened his press conference by thanking everyone who was involved in the process, including Chase Young and his family, Ohio State's compliance and communications staffs and Tim Nevius, his attorney.
  • Smith said Young's violation related to the NCAA bylaw on "preferential treatment."
  • Smith said Ohio State and the Young family chose not to appeal the NCAA's decision to suspend him for two games. It would have been possible to appeal and possibly receive a response by this weekend's game against Rutgers, but they decided not to go down that road.
  • "I want to be clear: The accusations did not come from Maryland, the accusations did not come from Penn State or anyone else in the Big Ten."
  • On Kirk Herbstreit's report Saturday that Ohio State was expecting a four-game suspension, Smith said Herbstreit was trying to just lay out the scenarios, and Smith felt a lot of that was misunderstood.
  • Smith said the violation was reported directly to Ohio State, not the NCAA. He would not comment on whether it was anonymously reported.
  • Smith said Young was "highly cooperative" with the process, which helped Ohio State come to a quick resolution in getting him reinstated.
  • Smith said there is "no question" will need to continue to educate its student-athletes more on NCAA compliance as a result of this situation, and he expects Chase Young will help out with that education. He said Young apologized to his teammates "right off the bat." 
  • Smith would not disclose the dollar amount that was involved in Young's violation. He said he could not discuss the specifics of Young's violation, and acknowledged that it was hard for him because he tries to be an open book.
  • Smith said Ohio State made the decision to suspend Young immediately because it felt there was enough evidence to constitute a violation. If Ohio State hadn't suspended him when it did, he could have been suspended later and put the rest of the team at risk if Ohio State had knowingly played an ineligible player.
  • Ohio State found out about the violation the day after the Wisconsin game.
  • Vacating wins from this season was never on the table because Ohio State did not play him after becoming aware that he had committed a violation.
  • "We never cover anything up. We're never going to do that. In my 34 years of doing this business, I've never even thought about doing that ... My integrity's all I've got. That's not even a thought of mine ... We're going to do it the right way, regardless of the circumstances ... I'm not going to jeopardize my integrity, and the integrity of this institution, and the integrity of our young men." Said he "never even thought twice about pushing it under the rug."
  • Smith said Ohio State requested for the penalty to be only one game, but Ohio State accepted the two-game suspension that the NCAA levied rather than appealing. The NCAA chose not to suspend him for three or four games, but if the NCAA had issued a stiffer punishment, Ohio State likely would have appealed.
  • Smith said Ryan Day was a "stud" in dealing with the situation and Day was the one who broke the news to Young today that he would be reinstated after this week's game.
  • Smith said he checked with Young to make sure that he wanted to come back and continue playing at Ohio State, and Young said he did, so that gave Smith more energy to fight for his reinstatement.
  • "This team has embraced Chase as a person ... he's just a great human being." Smith said Young is a captain for more than his playing ability.
  • Should Chase Young still be considered for the Heisman Trophy? "I think he deserves to be in New York ... He is that kind of player. He is so disruptive ... When you're talking about the best player in all of college football ... there's a lot of defensive players that I think should be considered, and he's certainly one of them."
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