Monthly Archives: September 2019

Theres Income Inequality in Golf Too

Earlier this year, several analysts at the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective took a look at income inequality in the major U.S. sports leagues. Using Gini coefficients, an economic tool that distills the degree of inequality among a set of earners to a single number, the collective found the NHL to be the most equitable and MLB to be the least. The researchers found that salary caps help limit income inequality, essentially. The results are below. A Gini coefficient of 0.0 means that every player has the same income — perfect equality — and a Gini coefficient of 1.0 means that one player takes home all of the income — perfect inequality.NHL: 0.42NBA: 0.52MLS: 0.54NFL: 0.57MLB: 0.621For comparison, according to the OECD (after taxes and transfers), in 2010 the United States had a Gini coefficient of 0.38, Sweden 0.27 and Mexico 0.47. But those are team sports. With the Masters tournament unspooling this week, I started wondering about income inequality for the PGA Tour, a collection of athletes that doesn’t have a salary cap. Surely, after more than a decade of big purses for Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and a select few others, golf would prove to be an unequal sport.It is, but increasingly less so. Since 1980, the PGA Tour has been shifting toward more income equality. How that happened, and how golf differs from other professional sports, shows that high levels of income inequality aren’t inevitable, even when individual athletes have different levels of skill.In 1980 the PGA Tour had a Gini coefficient of 0.70, which put it well above the major U.S. team sports. But last year the coefficient dropped to 0.58 (calculated using this tool). That holds, but to a lesser extent, if we look just at the top 100 money winners — in 2013 the tour’s Gini coefficient was 0.32, down from 0.36 in 1980.The move toward equality has happened despite huge amounts of cash injected into the game. In 2013, 82 golfers each won more than $1 million. Phil Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, told ESPN this week, “I remember when I was an amateur and I won my first tournament in Tucson in 1991, the entire purse was $1 million, first place was $180,000 and Steve [Loy, my agent] and I would sit down and say, ‘I wonder if in my lifetime, probably not in my career, we would have play for a $1 million first-place check.’ [Now] it’s every week. It’s unbelievable, the growth of this game.”Since 1980, prize winnings on the PGA tour have increased from $35 million (in 2014 dollars) to $250 million. But the top 1 percent is still winning the same proportion of that money as in the past, even when the number of money winners on the tour fluctuates (from a high of 374 in 1996 to a low of 248 in 2002 and 2010). Using data provided by the PGA Tour, we can see how different tiers of golfers have split up the pot.The top 1 percent have seen relative stability in their share of winnings since 1980. In contrast, the share of winnings of the top 10 percent and top 25 percent of earners on the PGA Tour has fallen somewhat. The top 10 percent of earners took home about half of all the prize money in 1980, but less than 40 percent by 2013. Same for the top 25 percent: In 1980 that group took home about 80 percent of all available prize money, but only 65 percent by 2013.The distribution of winnings across the PGA tour has flattened out a bit, meaning that players on the bottom half of the winnings table are doing relatively better than they did a few golfing generations ago. The proportion of winnings taken home by those in the 25th to 50th percentile of golfers increased by 140 percent from 1980 to 2013. The bottom half of earners saw an even larger gain of 240 percent. A massive increase in overall income doesn’t disproportionately reward those at the top of the scale.Probably the closest analog to golf is tennis, an individual sport with a collection of players who belong to a tour and make money based on tournament performance. A 2012 analysis of the top-100 ranked tennis players on the ATP (men’s) and WTA (women’s) tours by Ryan Rodenberg, an assistant professor of sports law analytics at Florida State University, found a Gini coefficient of 0.44 for the men and 0.48 for the women. Since 1990, the women’s tour has had greater income inequality than the men’s tour, but in recent years the gap has closed considerably, with the men’s Gini coefficient rising by 0.11 points, likely due in part to the overwhelming dominance of a small number of male players.From 2007 to 2011, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer took home between 20 percent and 26 percent of all ATP World Tour winnings. In response to concern from players, both tennis tours have dramatically increased the amount of tournament winnings paid out to early-round losers. Wimbledon, for instance, increased the purse awarded to losers in the first three rounds by 90 percent over the past two years.Even in these comparatively simple settings — mini-economies if you will — there can be a very large range of outcomes on inequality. Looking at golf alone might be misleading. Looking across sports tells us that high levels of inequality aren’t inevitable. read more

The Playoff Picture Is Clear As Long As Alabama And Clemson Win

Oklahoma 11-1331100%99% ▲ 2142% Michigan St. 11-1541462%61% ▲ 217% Stanford 10-2761148%13% ▲ 212% TeamCFPEloFPIConf. TitlePlayoffNat. Title Alabama 11-121274%79% ▲ 2125% The top five teams were unchanged in Tuesday evening’s College Football Playoff committee rankings. Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Iowa and Michigan State remain entrenched in the No. 1 to No. 5 spots, and all control their own destiny. So no news there. But shifts in the rankings of Stanford, Ohio State and North Carolina sent important signals as to how the committee thinks.First, though, the four major conference championship games must be played Saturday. And FiveThirtyEight is here to provide some probabilistic guidance, if not omniscient assurance, as to how the playoff picture will be affected come Saturday night. Here are our projections of which teams the committee will include in the playoff with its final rankings on Sunday: North Carolina 11-11091543%14% ▲ 212% Iowa 12-04122638%40% ▲ 213% College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings as of Dec. 1. Playoff probability changes are since Nov. 29; only changes greater than 5 percentage points are shown. Ohio State 11-16230%16% ▼ 6a4% The playoff picture is quite simple if Alabama and Clemson win the SEC and ACC titles, respectively. Both are locks for the playoff if that happens. So is the winner of the Big Ten championship game between Michigan State and Iowa; that game amounts to a quarterfinal. Oklahoma, which won the Big 12 championship and is done with its regular season, is a shoo-in, by our model’s estimation.But should either Alabama or Clemson (or both) lose on Saturday, it’s anyone’s guess who gets in.Ohio State, which moved up to No. 6 in the latest rankings, saw its playoff odds decline to 16 percent from 22 percent. (Our model has consistently liked the Buckeyes better than the committee has, in part because of their high Elo rating, so they’ve tended to fall slightly when new committee rankings are released.) Still, Ohio State remained ahead of Stanford in the committee standings.In theory, that would make Ohio State next in line in the event of a Clemson or Alabama loss.1Ohio State is ranked sixth, but either Iowa or Michigan State will lose next weekend, which would presumably move the Buckeyes up to No. 5. Thus, by this simplistic math, they’d be in the top four if Clemson or Alabama also lost. The problem is that other schools have more of an opportunity to impress the committee this weekend. Although our model gives Stanford a 13 percent shot at the playoff — slightly lower than Ohio State’s — that’s because the Cardinal face a tough opponent in USC for the Pac-12 championship. Stanford is more likely than Ohio State to make it in if it wins that game, however; another quality win plus a newly minted conference title would probably be enough for it to leapfrog the Buckeyes, according to the model.A trickier case is North Carolina, which is hanging around with a 14 percent shot. Even if the Tar Heels beat Clemson, they’re not assured of much; our model gives them only about a one-in-three shot at the playoff if they win the ACC title. UNC, ranked No. 8 in the AP poll, didn’t receive any favors from the committee, which slotted it in at No. 10 because of concerns over its weak schedule. The committee will have an opportunity to reconsider if the Tar Heels win, but the team may need to beat Clemson convincingly to up its odds.Finally, don’t write off Clemson — which could have an opportunity to make it in even with a loss. In the event that it falls to UNC, Clemson would have a résumé similar to Ohio State’s as a one-loss non-champion — but with a stronger schedule, an additional win (Clemson would be 12-1 to Ohio State’s 11-1), and victories over Notre Dame and Florida State.For those of you who want more nitty-gritty details about our projections, check out our original methodology manifesto, as well as last month’s methodology update. Clemson 12-015757%77% ▲ 2114% RankingProbability of … Florida 10-218222326%<1% ▲ 21<1% read more

Wake Forest transfer John Kuchno grows into Division I pitcher

With two outs in the fourth inning and a runner on first base, John Kuchno toed the rubber on the mound Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium. Kuchno quickly stepped off the rubber, fired the ball to first and picked off Oklahoma State’s Devin Shines to end the inning, capping off his best start of the season. This was not a situation Kuchno imagined he would be in two years ago. Back then, he was playing his first year of high school baseball as a senior for St. Paul’s in Maryland. The next year he attended Wake Forest. Kuchno was a 6-foot pitcher who planned to walk on to the baseball team, but he failed to earn a spot. The Ellicott City native grew four inches in his first year at Wake Forest, and his luck began to turn last summer. His new height helped him add speed to his fastball, which is about 92 mph now, and he played well in a showcase event in Indianapolis, attended by new Ohio State pitching coach Mike Stafford. Kuchno said he got the call from Stafford while in a hotel room with his best friend. “He pulled up the Ohio State website, and there’s a picture of Nick Swisher on it, and I was like, ‘Nick Swisher did not go there,’ like, this is not happening,” Kuchno said. “It was a great moment, and I’ll hold it for my life.” Now, as a full-time Division I pitcher, Kuchno is coming off his best start of the season. He held the No. 19 Oklahoma State Cowboys — who hold a team batting average of .302 — to one run in five innings. “Wednesday you saw a step in the right direction,” Stafford said. “He has come a long way. Last year, he was just a student without playing baseball at Wake Forest, and now he is in a Buckeye uniform, pitching quality innings for us in midweek games.” Coach Greg Beals said that outing was exactly what he was looking for. “That’s the potential we saw in John, and hopefully he can build on that,” he said. “He could have a bright future ahead of him if he keeps pitching like that.” Kuchno has has his struggles this season and with that outing he reduced his ERA by almost a point, moving it to 6.68 from 7.62. He said he worked on his mechanics late the night before his start against the Cowboys and that Stafford suggested he adjust parts of his delivery. “Me and my teammate Jacob Hayes came up and just (kept) working on mechanics,” Kuchno said. “I changed something. Coach Stafford had the idea, and my delivery went over the head from the wind up and just moved my hands down in the stretch.” Stafford said Kuchno’s ability to keep his pitches low in the strike zone was the reason he succeeded. “I give all the credit to Greg Solomon,” Kuchno said. “He tells me to work below his shoulders all the time in warm-up pitches, and that’s really helped me out a lot recently.” As of now, the Buckeyes would be the fourth seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Beals said Kuchno would be more likely to get a start if the Buckeyes fell into the losers’ bracket. The way the tournament is set up, a team would have to win four to five games to make it to the end. “John, with that outing today, starting to show something, may be that fourth-game starter in the tournament,” Beals said. “That will be a big game when we get there too.” Stafford said Kuchno likely will be the starter in today’s matchup against Toledo in the Buckeyes’ last home game of the season. This year, Kuchno has appeared in 10 games, starting in seven, and holds a 1-4 record with 31 innings pitched. “I kind of imagined it, but it was more of my friends who were always telling me: ‘You can do it. You’re going to be good someday,’” Kuchno said. “It’s just a great opportunity to be here, and I’m really blessed to have it.” read more

Commentary Ohio StateDuke game sets stage for basketball to outshine Tressels troubled

Move over, Jim Tressel. There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s got a full arsenal ready to go when his season rolls around. Coach Thad Matta and the Buckeye basketball team fell short of expectations last season, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to shine next season. After it was announced Tuesday that Ohio State would play perennial college basketball powerhouse Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, one thing about next year has become clear: There is more excitement in Columbus for Buckeye basketball than for Buckeye football. Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his Blue Devils will travel to Columbus on Nov. 29, just three days after Tressel’s Buckeyes (for now) take on Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. OSU and Duke entered the NCAA Tournament as No. 1 seeds two months ago, and both were upset in the Sweet 16. If the football team wins at Michigan next year, and the result isn’t an appearance in the inaugural Big Ten Championship, that familiar feeling of pride that comes along with beating the Wolverines will be all but forgotten by Tuesday night, as basketball jerseys and “Nuthouse” shirts replace the football garb that traditionally floods the OSU campus throughout the fall. And it won’t stop after next season. This could very well be the beginning of OSU’s football program taking a backseat to Matta’s budding basketball program. The timing is perfect. Look at the latest cover of ESPN The Magazine for example. Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas became common names on campus last season, as the trio of freshmen often dominated more experienced opponents and kept OSU at No. 1 in the NCAA rankings for most of the season. Sullinger started last year and Craft came in early every game, and Thomas could step into the starting lineup to replace former Buckeye David Lighty. The football program is without its biggest offensive threats, quarterback Terrelle Pryor and receiver DeVier Posey, for the first five games of the season. Pryor and Posey are two of five Buckeyes, also including offensive lineman Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, who are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits. Tressel also is suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for failing to report the players’ violations. If more wrongdoing by the football program is discovered, it could be the end of the road for Tressel at OSU. It just so happens that it could also be the beginning of Matta and the OSU basketball team becoming one of those perennial powerhouse basketball schools like Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils. What pushes fans to buy tickets to games and spend money on team apparel is a winning squad. If OSU’s football program is looking at stiffer penalties than the ones already placed on it, recruits will begin shying away and the talent the Buckeyes have been able to bring in during past years won’t be there anymore. That lack of talent will show in the win-loss column. On the other hand, if young high school basketball stars get used to seeing Matta and company on national TV, in big-time games year after year, even more Sullinger-like recruits will start coming in — regardless of whether they grew up 20 minutes east of Columbus, like Sullinger. The increased talent will show by the banners that go up at the Schottenstein Center. Columbus might not be ready to admit it yet, but it’s already starting to show on the national level: OSU is becoming a basketball school. read more

Former Ohio State basketball coach Jim OBrien hired by Emerson College

Former Ohio State basketball coach Jim O’Brien has been hired by Emerson College, a Division III school in Boston, to the same position. “We are extremely excited to have attracted someone with Jim’s talent and experience to Emerson. He will help the basketball program build on its many past successes,” said Kristin Parnell, athletic director at Emerson College, in an email to The Lantern. Hank Smith, who coached the Emerson basketball program for the past 16 seasons, left the program to “pursue other interests,” according to a Jan. 21 statement. Emerson finished with a record of 10-16 last season. O’Brien has lived in Boston, where he played basketball at Boston College, since being fired from OSU in 2004. He also coached at Boston College before coming to OSU. O’Brien was fired from OSU on June 8, 2004, after he admitted to giving a recruit, Aleksandar Radojevic, $6,000 in cash. Emerson does not award athletic scholarships. O’Brien was replaced by current coach Thad Matta. Matta did not return multiple attempts for comment. read more

Ohio State wrestling hoping home crowd can help against No 1 Penn

Any time a top-ranked team in the country comes to town, it’s a big match. But when that team is a bitter conference rival, the two-time defending NCAA champion and a team that dominated you the prior year, the showdown is on an even greater level. This is the scenario facing the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes wrestling team (10-2, 4-2 Big Ten) as it prepares for its final regular season conference match against No. 1 Penn State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) at St. John Arena in Columbus this Sunday. The contest, which follows a match against Michigan Friday night in Ann Arbor, Mich., could be OSU’s most daunting task of the season. And it just so happens to be Senior Night for the Buckeyes. “(The crowd’s) a ‘Scarlet-Out’ so it’s gonna be rocking,” said OSU coach Tom Ryan. “There’s nothing more exciting than being in front of a huge crowd … We gotta make them a factor, it’s gonna be fun.” This is an OSU outfit that seems to feeds off the intensity of the home crowd, dating back to the 2011-12 season. Impressive home victories against No. 15 Virginia Tech, No. 12 Michigan and No. 2 Iowa last year, coupled with wins against then-No. 18 Pittsburgh and then-No. 19 Wisconsin this year, have made St. John Arena a difficult place for some of the nation’s best teams. In fact, since the 2011-12 season, OSU is 8-1 at home. “Having a home crowd is definitely an advantage,” said Nikko Triggas, a senior 125-pound wrestler. “Our fans are loud. You get a take-down, the place explodes. You stick a guy, the place goes even more nuts. It’s always an incentive to win in front of your home crowd.” Triggas is competing in his last home match as a Buckeye and said the emotions will be mixed come Sunday. “My parents are flying in tonight (from Moraga, Calif., Triggas’ hometown) to watch me against Penn State,” Triggas said Wednesday. “It’s always good to say ‘goodbye’ to the fans at Ohio State, and having a Senior Night is the way to do it.” Despite having the emotional edge of Senior Night and the home crowd backing them, the Buckeyes will have their hands full with Penn State. The defending national champions come into the match having spent much of the season ranked No. 1, and they dismantled OSU, 34-9, in State College, Pa., last year. “They have a couple of studs that score a lot of points,” Ryan said. “But it’s a winnable duel for us … We gotta do it now.” Such a challenge is not lost on redshirt sophomore Logan Stieber, the defending 133-pound NCAA Champion. “They’re the former No. 1 team in the country,” Stieber, who returned from injury against against Illinois last Friday, said. “So it’s a big, big match.” Ryan doesn’t think his team is letting last year’s outcome hinder their preparations for Sunday. “That duel last year, we had three or four starters out … and that’s not an excuse, we just didn’t have our entire team in there,” Ryan said. “We’re an improved team, the matchups are good against Penn State, and we can’t wait.” Stieber, a team captain, said the defeat last year is in the minds of every OSU wrestler on the team, but they aren’t going to let it influence how they compete Sunday. “Seeing all of our fans, just there’s something about being home,” Stieber said. “Hopefully we get off to a great start and just keep rolling from there.” OSU is scheduled to take on Penn State Sunday at 4 p.m. at St. John Arena. read more

Ohio State mens hockey focused on the little things in weekend series

Junior forward Ryan Dzingel (18) attempts to get open during a game against Michigan State Jan. 11 at the Schottenstein Center. The teams tied, 1-1.Credit: Kelly Roderick / For The LanternA week after going on the road to face the No. 1 team in the nation, the Ohio State men’s hockey team is traveling again, this time to Madison, Wis., to face No. 9-ranked Wisconsin.The Buckeyes (11-8-1, 1-4-1) fell in both games against top-ranked Minnesota last weekend, while the Badgers (13-6-1, 4-2-0-0), are coming off two wins against No. 14 Michigan Jan. 10 and 11.Freshman goalie Matt Tomkins, who made 26 saves in Friday night’s loss, said the way the Buckeyes competed against a team like Minnesota demonstrates just how small the gap between success and failure is in the Big Ten.“It shows how close the league is as a whole, and how close we are to being one of the top teams in the nation,” Tomkins said. “We just need to focus on the little things to put us that much higher up in the standings.”Like his teammate Tomkins, sophomore forward Anthony Greco said the key thing the Buckeyes must do in order to overcome the Badgers this weekend is look within themselves.“Our focus is really on us, and what we need to do better,” Greco said. “We’ve got to play as best we can and hopefully get two wins out of it.”The Badgers — much like the Gophers — are an elite team. They enter this weekend having lost only once at home in 14 games and averaging 3.55 goals per game, tied with the Buckeyes for second in the Big Ten.The two games against the Badgers this weekend will hold some added significance for OSU head coach and Wisconsin alumnus Steve Rohlik as he returns to the school where he won a national championship as a player. But despite Madison being “a special place” for him, Rohlik said his only focus is preparing his team to play a Badgers squad that has multiple strengths.“They’re as well coached as any team in college hockey. They stick to their systems and they’re very disciplined,” Rohlik said. “You’ve got to earn every inch on the ice against these guys.”After the disappointment of last weekend, Tomkins said getting positive results in Wisconsin would be “huge” for the Buckeyes, but he knows they’ll have to pass a demanding test to achieve that goal.“We’re expecting a hard-nosed, skilled, and fast team,” Tomkins said. “They’re ranked pretty highly for a reason, so we’ve got to come ready to play.”Puck drop for this weekend is set for 9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday. read more

Ohio State mens lacrosse wins 2nd straight game beats Delaware 159

In its first nine games of the season, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team had not tallied a road victory.That changed Sunday.The Buckeyes headed east to take on the Delaware Blue Hens, and after starting fast never looked back, notching a 15-9 victory.Sophomore attackman Ryan Hunter, who saw more playing time in place of injured junior midfielder Turner Evans, got the Buckeyes on the board first with his third goal of the season.Outshooting the Blue Hens 14-3 in the first quarter, the Buckeyes tacked on five more goals to take a 6-0 lead into the second.Matching the intensity displayed in the first 15 minutes, OSU continued to build on its lead when junior midfielder David Planning tallied his second goal of the game.Junior attackman Reegan Comeault, who finished the game with two goals and one assist, scored just over a minute later to extend the Buckeyes lead to 8-0 before Delaware finally got on the board.The Blue Hens (6-6, 0-3 CAA) registered their first goal from junior midfielder Jeff Heath with 11:07 to play in the first half, but the Buckeyes scored two of the final three goals of the half, highlighted by junior midfielder Jesse King — who notched his team-leading 22nd goal of the season with two seconds to play in half.The 10 goals scored are the most in a half this season for OSU.Continuing to pile on the goals, freshman attackman J.T. Blubaugh and sophomore attackman Carter Brown scored two quick goals for the Buckeyes to extend the lead to double digits at 12-2 less than five minutes into the second half.Taking a 14-5 lead into the fourth quarter, Delaware tried to mount a comeback as they scored four straight goals to cut the lead to five, but it proved to be too little, too late.Comeault would tally his second goal of the game with 38 seconds to play to ice it for OSU (4-6, 1-0).Offensively, the Buckeyes were led by King, who had one goal and seven assists. The eight points were a career high for King, who also extended his point streak to 32 games.The Blue Hens got a strong performance out of senior attackman Danny Keane, who scored five of the nine goals on the day for Delaware.Defensively, senior goaltender Scott Spencer, who started his third straight game in place of injured senior goaltender Greg Dutton, made nine saves in the contest and improved his record to 2-1 on the season.Up next for the Buckeyes is the Showdown in the Shoe this Saturday when they welcome to town the Michigan Wolverines. Game time is set for 11 a.m. read more

Ohio State baseball player diagnosed with leukemia set to miss rest of

Freshman pitcher Zach Farmer, throws a pitch. OSU won against Toledo, 7-2, April 2.Credit: Elliot Schall / Lantern photographerOhio State freshman pitcher Zach Farmer will miss the remainder of the 2014 season after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia this week.According to the National Cancer Institute, acute myeloid leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.“I met with Zach this morning and he is in good spirits in the company of family, friends and teammates,” OSU baseball coach Greg Beals said in a released statement Thursday. “Zach is strong, and otherwise healthy, and is a great candidate to beat this diagnosis.”Farmer is set to begin a treatment process Monday at the Wexner Medical Center James Comprehensive Cancer Center. He and his family found out about the illness earlier this week, and the rest of the team was notified Tuesday before its trip to Louisville, Ky., for a game against Louisville Wednesday.OSU lost that game, 7-3.Farmer appeared in 10 games this season for the Buckeyes and had a 6-4 record to go along with a 3.28 ERA. He was second to senior pitcher Greg Greve with nine starts this season, while Greve has made 11 starts.“The team as a whole is obviously concerned about their brother, but we will forge on in our mission,” Beals said.OSU (25-20, 6-9) is scheduled to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (25-15, 7-8) Saturday at Bill Davis Stadium. First pitch is set for 3:05 p.m. read more

Teammates support Noah Spence despite offfield issues

OSU junior defensive lineman Noah Spence walks out of the team’s fall camp hotel, the Hyatt Place Columbus on Yard Strett, Aug. 7.Credit: Tim Moody / Sports editorWhen news broke that Ohio State junior defensive lineman Noah Spence had failed his second drug test, some believed he had made his last appearance in a scarlet and gray uniform.While that could still be the case, coach Urban Meyer doesn’t seem ready to give up on the Pennsylvania native just yet.“I’ve been criticized for many years about (how) I treat these guys like they’re my kid, and I’m not a big fan of dismissal,” Meyer said Monday. “I just don’t do that very often. It’s gotta be a severe one (situation), where you’re hurting someone else.”Spence, who was a first team All-Big Ten selection by the media in 2013, was suspended for three games in January for testing positive for ecstasy. After sitting out the 2014 Orange Bowl, Spence also sat out the first two games of this season.The defensive lineman was set to return for the Buckeyes’ third game of the season against Kent State, however, until the news of a second failed drug test surfaced less than 24 hours before the game. The failed test resulted in another violation of OSU and Big Ten rules, leaving Spence sidelined indefinitely.Meyer said along with his staff, he’s trying to do what’s best for Spence.“We’re doing our very best to (see) what the future holds for Noah, I have no idea, but to throw him to the street, I didn’t feel like that was appropriate just yet,” Meyer said. “And we’re going to do the best we can to help a guy that was a academic All-Big Ten, good student, great family, that has a problem, and it’s our job to help him, and I don’t think you will ever see our staff ever do that, say you’re out, in that kind of situation.”Junior linebacker Joshua Perry said Monday that he and the rest of his team are trying to support Spence as much as possible.“This is a time where you gotta surround him with people who care,” Perry said. “You can’t abandon him. I think that guys on our team understand that he is dealing with a really tough thing in his life. To be around him, I think, has made a difference.”While Meyer acknowledged that Spence is no longer practicing with the team, Perry said members of the team have made a concerted effort to keep Spence a part of the Buckeyes.“Guys will go out of their way to say hi to him or visit him at his apartment,” Perry said. “I think it is the right thing to do and you got a group of guys, especially on our defense, who care a lot about him. We want to be there to help him.”The Buckeyes’ next game — with or without Spence — is scheduled for Saturday against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Ohio Stadium. read more