Loving Suspended for Marijuana Use
Earlier this season, Ohio State Sophomore Marc Loving was suspended from the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules. The original press release from the University said that Loving had, “Lost the privilege to wear the scarlet and gray.” Now, multiple sources involved with and close to the team have confirmed that Loving was suspended due to multiple violations of the team’s marijuana policy, including a failed 4 panel drug test.
The punishment for the violations was never confirmed in a set length of time. Head Coach Thad Matta stated that Loving had to “earn his way back” onto the team after admitting to using similar medical cannabis to this white lightning strain in efforts to decrease his pain as well as the irregular migraines he was experiencing. The end result was Loving missing three games, in which the Buckeyes went 2-1. However, in total time lost, Loving was out for at least two weeks. He last appeared in a game against Maryland on Jan. 29, and did not play again until Feb. 14 against Michigan State.
A starter on the team for the majority of the season, Loving fell out of the starting rotation after the team’s loss to Iowa on Jan. 17. Despite leading the nation in three-point percentage at the time of his return, Loving has only been used sparingly. He played just five minutes against Michigan State, and 17 against Michigan, where he made one basket. Both of those games were season lows in minutes for Loving in conference play.
When asked for comment, Ohio State said that they stand by the original release and would not disclose further details regarding Loving’s suspension. The original suspension came from the school, not the coaching staff, and it was also the school that decided when Loving could return. Ohio State does conduct its own drug tests, in addition to NCAA tests with the possibility of Alliance drug testing based in Ohio. Open records request made with the NCAA by the Toledo Blade shows that Ohio State has not reported any violations of NCAA rules in recent weeks. In the athletic news section of the University’s website, the rules are laid out: All student-athletes are subject to drug testing while participating in a varsity sport at Ohio State University. A statement on the site from Heather Lyke, the Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance, states “Ohio State’s focus in implementing its ADD program is more on finding out why the student-athlete is using the banned drug and getting him or her adequate counseling and help than just punishment for the young person. However, we do impose strict consequences on student-athletes who repeatedly violate the institution’s drug policy.”
This story will be updated as it develops.
Ben Ferree/Jason Mowry