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story.lead_photo.caption Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant scrambles during the second half of Saturday's game against Florida at Faurot Field in Columbia. Photo by Associated Press / News Tribune.
Colin O'Brien
If Missouri ever needed a reminder it is not among the blue bloods of collegiate athletics, the NCAA gave it a reminder this week.

Ohio State defensive lineman Chase Young, a rare defensive Heisman Trophy candidate, was suspended before the Buckeyes' game last week at Maryland for breaking NCAA rules. Ohio State self-reported Young's violation, which, according to college football reporter Bruce Feldman at The Athletic, was accepting a personal loan from a longtime family friend — not an agent or booster — in December 2018 to fly his girlfriend to California for the Rose Bowl earlier this year.

Ohio State moved swiftly, and Young admitted he accepted the loan, which he repaid in April. The Buckeyes submitted their report to the NCAA this past Tuesday, five days ago, and heard back from the NCAA the following day with their verdict: Young would have to sit out two games before he could be reinstated.

The next day.

Throw everything about Young's case, except the relative narrowness of its scope, out the window. Missouri has been waiting nearly 240 days since it filed its appeal of NCAA sanctions handed down 30 days after the Rose Bowl, and more than 120 days since the in-person appeal of postseason bans for football, softball and baseball, which was done July 18.

Missouri's case is undoubtedly more complicated, more intricate and more deserving of a nuanced look, and there is likely a case log the Committee on Infractions needed to get to first.

But it's hard to ignore the nagging feeling traditional power Ohio State, ranked No. 2 in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings and sitting at 10-0 after demolishing Rutgers on Saturday, has more leverage and a better seat in the court of public opinion that also factored into Young's speedy adjudication.

Missouri never wanted to be here, but it's now partly its own fault.

The Tigers could have put consistent pressure on the NCAA for nearly a month if they had become bowl eligible against Vanderbilt. The athletic department has made it clear, from spending on legal representation to the PR campaign with the "Make it Right" slogan, it was willing to expend capital to do that.

But the four-game losing streak has sapped fan support and enthusiasm. Missouri's athletic department budget absolutely needs the extra cash from conference and national sources that comes with a bowl appearance, but forcing the issue and trying to sell a New Years Six bowl is a much easier proposition than the Birmingham or Independence bowls for the section of the fan base that is not a die-hard group willing to follow the team wherever.

This team had the talent to do what non-traditional powers Baylor and Minnesota have done this season. It could have been fighting for first, or at least second, in the SEC East on Saturday in a ranked matchup against No. 11 Florida.

But the ruling, whatever it is and whenever it comes down, reinforces the clear distinction between the haves and the have-nots of the college football world.

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