Ohio State Linebacker Palaie Gaoteote's Appeal for Eligibility Denied by NCAA

By Dan Hope on September 9, 2021 at 1:05 pm
Palaie Gaoteote

Palaie Gaoteote remains ineligible to play for Ohio State.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day told reporters on Thursday that Gaoteote's appeal to be eligible to play for the Buckeyes this season has been denied by the NCAA.

“As of right now, we got word that he got denied,” Day said. “So we're gonna try to figure out what's next. It's very, very disappointing that he wasn't granted an opportunity to play this season, so we'll kind of regroup and see what's next here.”

An Ohio State spokesperson said later Thursday afternoon, however, that Ohio State is still working with the NCAA with hopes that Gaoteote could be eligible to play later this season.

“Palaie is currently not eligible to play but Ohio State is continuing to work with the NCAA on this petition,” Ohio State said in a statement.

According to Lettermen Row's Austin Ward, a resolution on Gaoteote's second appeal could come as soon as next week.

Day said Gaoteote is still practicing with the team and that Ohio State will work with him to determine the next steps if he is unable to play this fall.

“We're gonna look back into it and see if there possibly could be some sort of an appeal or not, but we'll try to put a plan together for what's next for him,” Day said.

Because Gaoteote is not eligible to play, he is not on scholarship and is currently paying his own way to attend Ohio State.

While the NCAA expanded the one-time transfer exception to all sports this offseason, allowing players to transfer one time and play immediately at their new schools, Gaoteote is dealing with a separate eligibility issue, though Ohio State has not specified exactly why Gaoteote is ineligible and Day said the NCAA did not provide a specific explanation as to why his initial waiver request was denied.

Had Gaoteote been granted eligibility, the former USC linebacker was expected to be a key piece of Ohio State's defense this year. Without Gaoteote, the Buckeyes’ linebacker corps will continue to be led by the likes of Teradja Mitchell, Tommy Eichenberg, Cody Simon and Dallas Gant, while Steele Chambers, K'Vaughan Pope, Reid Carrico and Mitchell Melton provide additional depth at the position, though Melton is currently sidelined by an injury.

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