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We were all waiting for Ohio State head coach Ryan Day to comment on the truly bizarre incident that transpired during the second quarter of the game vs. Akron, and we did get a little reaction from him. Probably not as much detail that everyone wants right now, but it was at least something. I’m sure there will be more later.
To bring you up to speed, OSU linebacker K’Vaughan Pope left the game just before the first half ended after an emotional incident with some of the coaches and players. He then proceeded to angry tweet at the program, seemingly quitting the team in the middle of the game.
Of course, the very first question Day was asked was not about the game itself, but that moment that seemingly everyone was talking about during and after the game. His initial response was pretty boilerplate and standard as expected.
“Someone just kind of told me I guess there was something with a tweet or something,” Day said. “I’m going to kind of get the details of everything that happened before I say anything there.”
— Buckeyes Wire (@BuckeyesWire) September 26, 2021
However, Day was then pressed further to dig a little deeper into what’s happening with the linebacker group. Not only did Pope sound off in the middle of a game, but the team also seems to be in the midst of losing veteran linebacker Dallas Gant to the transfer portal earlier this week.
Day seemed to shrug it off to it being a product of today’s environment more than losing guys in the locker room.
“In today’s day and age, guys can leave with four games because they can redshirt, and then if they want to go into the portal, that’s their prerogative,” Day continued. “I have a hard time with that because I think when you make a commitment to a team at the beginning of the year, when you make a commitment to the Ohio State Buckeyes, that’s what you do. One of the hard things is that you have to play certain guys, and you have to make some decisions on who’s playing in those games and you just really count on guys to be great teammates if they’re not getting on the field … What it really is, is that guys want to play and you can’t play everyone. And then frustration kicks in.”
That’s not a calling out of anyone by name, but it sure does speak to the challenges of having players that have more ability to leave programs in today’s day and age. There are some really good things happening with looking out for today’s college athletes, but these are all things that coaches didn’t have to deal with as much just a couple of years ago.
We still don’t have any official word on Pope, but when we do, we’ll be sure to jump on it. It’ll be interesting to see if we see more of these types of power struggles as players begin to exert their independence with NIL legislation, the one-time transfer rule, and more.
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