Ohio State football: Gene Smith explains how Chase Young case unfolded

Gene Smith met with reporters at Ohio State on Wednesday night to explain how Chase Young went from eligible to ineligible to eligible again in less than two weeks.

“The reality is we received an accusation and we do what we always do: we ran it into the ground,” the Ohio State director of athletics said of the incident that led to Young missing the Buckeyes’ last game and the next game.

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“We interviewed all the people we thought should be interviewed and fortunately you had someone like Chase. There’s a lot of people who in my past we don’t go to war for because there’d be serial behavioral issues. This young man’s on top of the pyramid. You all have interviewed him — you know how great a young man he is. He was highly cooperative and allowed us to run it into the ground pretty fast.”

According to Young, the star defensive end received a loan last year that was repaid before this season started.

Smith said that was brought to the attention of the university after Ohio State’s 38-7 win over Wisconsin on Oct. 26.

Looking into it led the school to conclude a violation had occurred, leaving the only question how much time Young would miss.

The school suggested to the NCAA a one-game punishment was appropriate, but the enforcement staff responded with two.

“We submitted our request for immediate reinstatement, meaning he would have sat one game,” Smith said. “They chose to add a game, taking it to two. Had they gone to three or four, we probably would have appealed, but we chose with the family to accept the two.”

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Smith declined to identify how much money was involved, but he praised Young for how he handled the situation, including answering questions and apologizing to his teammates.

“He could have not cooperated and covered it up and said, ‘I’m going pro,’” Smith said. “He wanted to come back and play with his brothers, so at the end of the day he was transparent, he was honest, he was forthright. That’s what we want in our student-athletes and that’s how we have to behave. If we don’t behave that way, we don’t have Chase Youngs.”

The OSU AD also suggested being able to work with the NCAA throughout the process helped expedite the decision.

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“They know we’re cooperative, and I think that helped us in this particular case,” Smith said. “I think they moved exceptionally fast considering we gave them the report Tuesday morning and got a response this morning. That’s fast.”

He acknowledged potential changes to rules against athletes’ profiting off their name, image and likeness that are being discussed could make such a situation moot in the future, but he declined to make an issue of it now.

“We can debate whether the rule is still applicable today, whether it needs to be changed,” Smith said, “but in today’s world that rule is still applicable. We’ve got a bunch of those on the books.”

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