Ohio State will still be short-handed when the Buckeyes take on Toledo on Saturday.
The school announced late Friday afternoon that three players - cornerback Travis Howard, tailback Jordan Hall and safety Corey Brown - will not be reinstated before the Buckeyes and Rockets kickoff at noon.
“The university continues to work with the NCAA on the reinstatement process and is hopeful that the student-athletes will be reinstated soon,” a university spokesman said via emailed statement. “The university will have no further comment.”
The school had previously held that the players were sidelined for accepting benefits totaling less than $300 at a charity event during the summer, but an NCAA statement issued Friday afternoon declared, “the nature and scope of the violations merit a two-game suspension. In addition, the facts submitted by the university have raised further questions that need to be answered before the reinstatement process is complete.”
Hall and Howard, both juniors, are expected to be starters this season, while Brown is a reserve.
Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell and assistants Taver Johnson and Dick Tressel all said during interviews earlier in the week they were told the players would be available to face Toledo, though none of them were clear on how they planned to work the trio into the lineup.
Tressel, who coaches the team’s running backs and special teams, said sophomore Carlos Hyde would start at running back against Toledo after performing well in his first career start a week earlier.
Johnson said he was not sure who would start from a trio of Howard, Bradley Roby and Dominic Clarke.