Linebacker Dorian Bell was suspended for the 2011 season because of a violation of team rules, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel confirmed to The Columbus Dispatch Sunday.
Tressel did not offer specifics. But sources said it's believed to be because of a third breach of the athletic department's drug and alcohol abuse policy.
Bell, a third-year sophomore from Monroeville, Pa., did not make the trip to the Sugar Bowl in January for undisclosed reasons. That makes it likely that Bell is a repeat offender and drew a stiffer penalty for the latest violation.
Bell, 6 feet 1 and 225 pounds, appeared in eight games last season when he wasn't nicked up, and at times was on the second team, backing up Ross Homan. He made nine tackles, including half a sack, and also forced a fumble.
Bell had established himself in the two-deep at linebacker in the spring and was in the running for the possible starting job at the strongside spot. At the end of spring drills nine days ago, several Ohio State defenders said Bell finally was playing up to his promise.
Other players who now could step up in that role include Storm Klein, Jordan Whiting or incoming freshman Curtis Grant, the No. 2 overall prospect in the nation, according to rivals.com.
Bell was a highly touted recruit. Rivals.com rated him a five-star prospect in the class of 2009, and he was ranked the third-best outside linebacker nationally and the No.33 overall prospect. He redshirted his freshman year because of personal issues.