Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
Ohio State’s football team will be playing for a championship this year after all.
Despite NCAA sanctions that have barred the program from playing in the Big Ten Championship game and a postseason bowl, the Buckeyes are eligible to win the Leaders Division title and the trophy that comes with it.
Big Ten Conference Scott Chipman confirmed that, “the team (or teams) that finish in first place in the Leaders Division will be considered the Leaders Division Champion and would receive a trophy.”
Consequently, in a situation where OSU wins their division championship, the conference would officially recognize and reward the Buckeyes for such a feat. OSU, however, is still ineligible to actually play in the Big Ten Championship – even if they were to capture the Leaders Division crown.
Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said the development was news to him during a Wednesday press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
“Yeah, I don’t even – that’s the first I’ve heard something like that,” Meyer said.
While Meyer, who won his debut at OSU against Miami (Ohio), 56-10, last Saturday, said there would be little talk of the matter inside the Buckeyes’ locker room, he did say it could serve potentially as motivation for the team later.
“I think somewhere at the point in November or something, yeah, I think that’ll be interesting,” the first-year coach said.
OSU is scheduled to play Central Florida Saturday at noon in Ohio Stadium.