On Tuesday, the Big 10 conference declared that Ohio State defensive end Noah Spence was “permanently ineligible from all intercollegiate athletics competition,” effective immediately.
The announcement came via Ohio State Buckeyes’ athletics director Gene Smith, who detailed the decision in this statement:
“Ohio State junior student-athlete Noah Spence has been declared permanently ineligible from all intercollegiate athletics competition by the Big Ten Conference. The Ohio State University Department of Athletics had assisted Noah and his family leading up to an appeals process that took place today.
While we are disappointed in the outcome, we are pleased that Noah has come a long way and we are very proud of the progress he has made with regard to his health. The Department of Athletics will continue to assist Noah through his pursuits and provide the academic resources necessary to help him complete his degree program.”
Spence, a former five-star recruit from Harrisburgh, PA, failed a drug test in 2013 where he was suspended for a total of three games; first against Clemson in the Orange Bowl, and for the first two games of the 2014 season.
In September, Ohio State announced that Spence was being suspended for a second time, for testing positive for the controlled, “performance enhancing,” substance, ecstasy. At that time, head coach Urban Meyer announced that Spence was still with the team, but was in treatment and the University was awaiting the conference’s decision on what his punishment would be.
Spence had been recruited by several top-tier schools, such as the University of Southern California, Alabama, LSU, and others, but he chose Ohio State and signed his letter of intent on December 18, 2011.
Despite the suspension, Spence led the league in 2013 with eight total sacks, and was named First Team All Big 10 in the same season.
Tuesday’s decision by the conference was off of an appeal, so Spence’s time in Columbus is up, and there is no word yet on what his future plans entail. But if he has, in fact, made progress towards his health as Smith described, perhaps he’ll be able to pursue football elsewhere.
*Section Photo credit to Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Sandra Dukes, USA Today Sports.