When Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett was cited early Saturday morning for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, he not only lost his starting spot for at least one game, but he also might have lost thousands of dollars.
OSU coach Urban Meyer announced on Monday that in addition to a one-game suspension that Barrett will serve during Saturday’s home game against Minnesota, the Wichita Falls, Texas, native also had a scholarship taken away as punishment for the citation.
“When a kid has an issue like that, there’s some type of punitive damage as far as missing a game or something, and then they forfeit their scholarship at some point,” Meyer said, adding that the scholarship revokement was something he has done in the past.
The scholarship was later confirmed by an OSU spokesman to be Barrett’s summer aid — compensation given by OSU to athletes who are taking six or more academic credit hours during the summer term.
The spokesman added that the team holds workouts over the summer, and players are required to take at least six credit hours to attend. The summer aid also covers housing and living expenses.
According to OSU’s website, the out-of-state tuition rate for six credit hours in the Summer 2015 term was $6,676.10 for Barrett’s communication major, and that does not include the other cost-of-living expenses..
Meyer confirmed that the suspension was not mandatory under OSU’s drug-and-alcohol policy, but the coach handed it down himself. He also said Barrett will undergo counseling through the university.
Meyer said another punishment is still under consideration for the redshirt sophomore: the forfeiture of his team captaincy.
“You know, I visited with some older players about that, my initial reaction was he might and let me just talk to some guys,” Meyer said. “But it was very strong with the leadership on the team to (not take it away). I’m still in my own mind going through that. And as of now, no.”
Co-captain and senior left tackle Taylor Decker said Barrett had handled everything as he should since the citation, but he doesn’t know what the decision will ultimately be on the captaincy.
“He took the responsibility,” Decker said. “He actually called me Sunday because he just wanted to explain to me what happened himself. I thought that was a really mature move by him.”
Decker added that it is hard to believe that Barrett would be the one to get in trouble after witnessing his character for three years.
“We haven’t really had a ton of issues on this team, and then in the bye week I thought we made it clear that we shouldn’t have any, and then for it to happen from a guy like him, I think (stunned) is a perfect word for it,” Decker said.
Meyer said he initially learned about the incident from a 6 a.m. text message. He was so surprised by the news that he immediately called the person who texted him to confirm that he was reading it correctly.
Barrett then visited Meyer’s house later on Saturday to talk to him in person about the situation. Meyer said he told the quarterback that he will now have to deal with something he never has before: a damaged reputation.
“When they say, you’re too short, you don’t run fast enough, your arm strength isn’t good enough, you’re just an average quarterback, you can deal with that. You just outwork it,” Meyer said. “When they start attacking who you are, especially people who don’t know who you are, and I told him, that’s the toughest thing he’ll ever have to deal with is that now there’s some question as to who you are.”
Meyer said Barrett drove to pick someone up to give him or her a ride home. The quarterback told his coach that he did not believe he was over the legal blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 percent to drive a motor vehicle, though the limit is 0.02 percent for an underage individual like the 20-year-old Barrett.
As for the game against Minnesota, Meyer officially announced on Monday that it will be redshirt junior Cardale Jones getting the start at quarterback. Jones had started 10 consecutive games going back to last season’s Big Ten Championship Game before being pulled in favor of Barrett in OSU’s Week 8 game at Rutgers.
Beyond Minnesota, Meyer said he hasn’t given the identity of the starting quarterback too much thought.
“If he’s good enough and if he’s earns that right (he will start again),” Meyer said about Barrett. “I haven’t even gone that far yet.”
The Buckeyes, with Jones returning to the starting quarterback spot, are set to take on Minnesota on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.