COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ahead of a Saturday home game against the Maryland Terrapins, the Buckeye faithful did not sense Ohio State’s successful season losing steam.
Confidence was high following a number 1 college football ranking, despite the team’s star defensive end sidelined for the game.
“The nice thing is I think this team is built by a lot more than just Chase Young and so I think they’re going to be fine. I think it’s going to fire them up even more to win this week,” said OSU fan Jason Mewhorter.
The University announced Chase Young would be benched while the Department of Athletics investigated a possible NCAA issue from 2018. According to a statement from Young, the suspension is a result of a loan he says he accepted from a family friend he met before his time at Ohio State.
ESPN reports Young will be suspended for a total of four games because of a loan he accepted to fly his girlfriend to the Rose Bowl.
Some fans said Young’s apparent need for a loan highlights a national debate over college athletes receiving compensation.
“They put in tremendous work and effort for the university. This actually magnifies the issues with college athletes and in California,” said Buckeye fan Dominic Bagnoli. “I think the NCAA really needs to look at this whole thing and decide what’s the right way to be fair to the athletes.”
Bagnoli also thought Young’s suspension wouldn’t necessarily compromise the Heisman contender’s chances at winning one of college football’s most coveted individual awards.
“I think that the Heisman should be the best player. Clearly he’s the best player in college football right now,” Bagnoli explained.
Other fans said a key ingredient for the Buckeyes’ postseason could be missing without Young.
“I think the Penn State game would be concerning without him out there, considering how good he is. He’s really a team leader, everyone kind of feeds off of him,” said Thomas Mackessy.
Even with a sense of disappointment, many fans think the team’s momentum could carry it into the playoffs, even without Young.
“You know what, it doesn’t matter. We’ve got to win every game and as long as we beat Penn State and Michigan, we’re going to be in the playoffs and then we’ll see what happens,” said Bagnoli.
The Buckeyes could appeal Young’s suspension to reduce the number of games he must sit out.