Palaie Gaoteote IV will not play for the Buckeyes in 2021, barring a successful appeal to the NCAA.
Ohio State head Ryan Day said the NCAA denied the USC transfer’s immediate eligibility waiver. He said he is uncertain why the collegiate organization decided to keep Gaoteote off the field and that the school will look into grounds for an appeal.
“We’ll try to figure out what’s next,” Day said. “We’re very disappointed he wasn’t granted an opportunity to play this season. We’ll regroup and see what’s next here.”
Gaoteote will remain on the active roster. He practiced with the Ohio State linebackers throughout fall camp, but Day said he was often held out of first and second-string reps due to the uncertainty of his eligibility.
The former five-star recorded 105 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in three seasons at USC. The Ohio State coaching staff expected Gaoteote to help strengthen and develop an inexperienced linebacker room.
Gaoteote didn’t receive a free transfer because he entered the portal in December — several months before the NCAA passed a rule allowing first-time transfers to earn immediate eligibility.