Ohio State DE Noah Spence ineligible to play Saturday

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Ohio State's defense was expected to get a boost from the return of star defensive end Noah Spence on Saturday, but Spence will remain sidelined.

"Ohio State junior Noah Spence is ineligible to play for the Buckeyes tomorrow against Kent State because of a university and Big Ten Conference rule violation," Ohio State announced in a statement. "Ohio State and the Spence family will continue to work with the Big Ten until there is final resolution to this matter."

Spence has again failed a drug test, according to the Columbus Dispatch, and Spence's parents say he's seeking treatment for a medical illness.

"We love him dearly, and our focus is to get him the best medical attention we can," Greg and Helen Spence wrote in an email, according to The Dispatch. "We are hopeful that Noah can get healthy and, at some point, resume his career with the Buckeyes."

The junior was suspended for last season's Orange Bowl and the first two games of this season because he tested positive for ecstasy. His suspension was initially for a full season but it was reduced to three games.

The Dispatch reports the results of the drug test weren't known until late this week, which would explain why Spence appeared on the team-released depth chart on Tuesday for the first time this season. Greg and Helen Spence were called to a meeting with head coach Urban Meyer, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and their son late on Thursday, and that's when Noah Spence revealed his problem to his parents, per the report.

The family has previously said that Spence took ecstasy unintentionally at a party last December after someone spiked his drink.

Spence led the Buckeyes with eight sacks last season and was listed in the offseason by NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks as one of the top 10 pass rushers in college football.

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