Ohio State will not be receiving a late season defensive boost in 2014.
The Buckeyes learned late Tuesday night that former starting defensive end Noah Spence was declared permanently ineligible by the Big Ten conference after he and his family went through an appeals process that reportedly stemmed from a failed drug test before the season.
"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," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a school statement. "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."
A junior, Spence was suspended for last season's Orange Bowl loss against Clemson and for the first two games of 2014 after he tested positive for ecstasy. Shortly before he was due to return to action in September, the school suspended Spence indefinitely after he tested positive for the drug once again.
The NCAA classifies ecstasy as a banned substance, with a second failed test resulting in another full season of lost eligibility. Because he is a junior and already had suffered from lost eligibility stemming from his first failed test, Tuesday's actions effectively ended Spence's college career.
Before his off-the-field issues, Spence was considered to be one of the top recruits of the Urban Meyer era in Columbus and a potential All-Big Ten pick this season after leading the team in sacks in 2013. Instead of teaming up with Bednarik Award candidate Joey Bosa to form a dangerous pass-rushing duo, it appears Spence will be turning his attention to pre-draft training over the next few months.
NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks listed Spence as one of the top 10 pass rushers in college football during the offseason based on what he showed as a sophomore.