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Ohio State's Noah Spence Declared Permanently Ineligible by Big Ten

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIINovember 26, 2014

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 16:  Noah Spence #8 of the Ohio State Buckeyes rushes against Corey lewis #70 of the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Champaign, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Illinois 60-35.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes are in the thick of the College Football Playoff race even without the services of star defensive lineman Noah Spence.

The Big Ten officially ruled Spence ineligible for the remainder of 2014, so he won't be able to help Ohio State out down the stretch. Bryan Fischer of NFL.com reported the news after Spence's unsuccessful appeal hearing concluded Tuesday:

Bryan Fischer @BryanDFischer

Ohio State confirms Noah Spence has been declared permanently ineligible from all competition by the Big Ten

Eleven Warriors tweeted a statement from Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith:

Eleven Warriors @11W

Smith's full statement on Noah Spence: http://t.co/a4rntkdqPv

Spence was suspended for the second time in nine months in September after testing positive for the drug ecstasy twice. The Columbus Dispatch's Tim May, Bill Rabinowitz and Mark Znidar outlined the conference rules that are keeping Spence off of the gridiron when initially reporting on the suspension:

The Big Ten classifies ecstasy as a performance-enhancing drug, even though it is better known as a party drug. The conference policy for performance enhancers upon a second offense is that the player "shall be declared permanently ineligible for all further intercollegiate competition in all sports."

Rabinowitz provided a bit more background ahead of Tuesday's hearing, noting Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer didn't play a role in the saga:

Bill Rabinowitz @brdispatch

Noah Spence has his appeal today. Meyer said he's not involved. Said Buckeyes will "cross that bridge" later if Spence's appeal is granted.

The news involving Spence hardly comes as a surprise in light of Big Ten rules. Spence had 50 total tackles (14.0 TFL) with 7.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 2013, per CFBStats.com. Now that the junior is banished for good from the Big Ten, it is likely Spence will take his talents to the NFL draft.

He suggested as much on his Twitter account after today's news:

Noah Spence @nspence94

With the draft in a couple months thanks for the extra motivation 🙏 http://t.co/hEqnqPuvgc

In a 2015 class that figures to be loaded with pass-rushers, Spence may have a hard time sticking out from the talented crowd given his past. However, if he gets a chance in the NFL and can develop at a gradual rate in a stable organization, he has the makings of rewarding a team's faith despite his off-field mishaps.

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