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Ohio State Dismisses Senior Linebacker K’Vaughan Pope Following Sideline Incident

The senior had a heated exchange with the coaching staff in the second quarter of Saturday's win over Akron.
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Ohio State announced on Sunday it has dismissed senior linebacker K’Vaughan Pope from the team after an outburst on the sidelines during the second quarter of Saturday’s 59-7 win over Akron.

“K’Vaughan will continue to have the use of programs that benefit our student-athletes, such as our Student-Athlete Support Services Office, and we will support him with his progress toward graduation,” the program said in a statement. “He will remain on scholarship through the duration of this semester.”

A former four-star prospect from Dinwiddie, Va., Pope was expected to start for the Buckeyes this fall but had played just 31 snaps through the first three games of the season. His only appearance in Saturday's game leading up to the incident came on special teams.

Pope was set to enter the game on defense in the second quarter before being waved off the field by fellow senior linebacker Teradja Mitchell. He then began to walk to the locker room before director of player development C.J. Barnett grabbed him and brought him back to Ohio State's sideline.

Upon returning to the sideline, Pope got in a verbal altercation with linebackers coach Al Washington while wide receiver Kamryn Babb and defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste tried to calm him down. He then removed his jersey and threw his gloves into the stands before head coach Ryan Day pointed him back to the locker room, where he took out his frustrations on social media.

Day briefly addressed the incident during his postgame press conference but refused to say at that time whether or not Pope remained a member of the team.

“Someone just kind of told me about the tweets,” Day said. “I am going to get all the details about everything that happened before I say anything else.”

Pope apologized for his actions on Twitter shortly after Ohio State announced his dismissal, saying that he let his emotions get the best of him.

“For that, I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Buckeye Nation," Pope said. "I made a mistake and know that I need to be better and do better. I’m going to take this time to reflect and work on my mental well-being.”

This is the second hit to Ohio State’s depth this week, as senior Dallas Gant entered his name into the transfer portal on Wednesday. That leaves Mitchell and fellow senior Palaie Gaoteote, redshirt sophomores Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg, sophomore Cody Simon, redshirt freshman Mitchell Melton and true freshman Reid Carrico as the only linebackers on the roster.

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