K'Vaughan Pope has been dismissed from the Ohio State football program.
The senior linebacker left the field at Ohio Stadium in the second quarter of Saturday’s game against Akron following what appeared to be a heated exchange on the sideline with the Buckeye coaching staff, and the team released a statement from Ryan Day Sunday that said Pope will no longer be a member of the team moving forward.
"K’Vaughan will continue to have the use of programs that benefit our student-athletes, such as our Student-Athlete Support Services Office, and we will support him with his progress toward graduation," Day's statement reads. "He will remain on scholarship through the duration of this semester."
Post posted an apology for his actions to Twitter Sunday, and said that he will “take this time to reflect and work on my mental well-being.”
Last night I let my emotions get the best of me. For that I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Buckeye Nation. I made a mistake and know that I need to be better and do better. Im going to take this time to reflect and work on my mental well-being.— KVaughan Pope (@VonP04) September 26, 2021
Pope, considered a frontrunner to start for the Buckeyes at one point this past spring, played just 31 total snaps in the first three games of the season, including none at all in the season opener and just seven against Oregon in Week 2.
After being waved off the field on one defensive series for the Buckeyes late in the first half against Akron, the senior linebacker began walking to the Ohio State locker room, but was corralled by director of player development C.J. Barnett and briefly returned to the Buckeye sideline.
Pope took his helmet off and appeared to have a heated verbal exchange with linebacker coach Al Washington before taking off his gloves and throwing them into the crowd. Team captain Kamryn Babb was among a contingent of Buckeye players that attempted to calm Pope down, but the fourth-year defender eventually walked to the locker room with Barnett by his side.
Just minutes after leaving the game, Pope sent out two tweets, one that said “good lucc to my teammates,” and another that said “fucc Ohio State.” Pope deleted the second tweet soon thereafter.
good lucc to my teammates— KVaughan Pope (@VonP04) September 26, 2021
“What it really is is just a lot of guys, they want to play, and you can’t play everybody. And then frustration kicks in,” Day said after the game. “I don’t really want to comment too much on that particular situation, but I certainly think it’s very isolated.”
Entering Saturday’s game, third-year Buckeye linebacker Steele Chambers, who switched from running back to linebacker permanently in the preseason, had been given four more snaps than Pope on the season.
Dallas Gant, another frontrunner to start at linebacker in the spring, entered the transfer portal Wednesday after seeing his playing time slashed early in the 2021 season. Gant played 41 snaps in the season opener, but saw just five reps against Oregon and only one against Tulsa.
“In this day and age, guys can leave with four games because they can redshirt and if they want to go into the portal, that’s their prerogative. I have a hard time with that, because I think when you make a commitment to a team at the beginning of the year, you make a commitment to Ohio State and the Buckeyes, that’s what you do,” Day said about Gant's decision after Saturday's game. “One of the hard things is you have to play certain guys, and you have to make some decisions on who is playing in those games, and you really count on the guys to still be great teammates if they’re not getting on the field.”
Pope officially entered the transfer portal on Monday.
Without Gant and Pope, the Buckeyes have just six scholarship linebackers who are currently available to play: Teradja Mitchell, Cody Simon, Tommy Eichenberg, Steele Chambers, Palaie Gaoteote and Reid Carrico. Mitchell Melton is currently unavailable due to injury.