Ohio State President Kristina Johnson and AD Gene Smith Respond to Cancelation of Fall Football Season

Gene Smith Ohio State Athletic Director

COLUMBUS – Ohio State president Kristina M. Johnson and athletic director Gene Smith released statements responding to the Big Ten’s announcement to postpone the 2020 fall football season.

You can read their statements in the full release from Ohio State below.


Columbus, Ohio – The 2020 Big Ten Conference fall athletics seasons, which include the sports of football, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country, have been postponed by a league-wide vote of school presidents. The Big Ten will continue to evaluate options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated.

The decision by the presidents to postpone was based upon the recommendation of medical experts within the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases in collaboration with the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.

“As a former collegiate athlete whose career in sports was cut short by circumstances beyond my control, I deeply feel the pain, frustration and disappointment that all our players, coaches and staff – and all Buckeye fans – are feeling today,” said Ohio State President-elect Kristina M. Johnson. “I will continue to work closely with Athletics Director Gene Smith, Coach Ryan Day and all coaches and other leaders, to return our student-athletes to competition as soon as possible, while staying safe and healthy.

“We are focused on supporting our student-athletes in every way, ensuring their scholarships are still in place, and looking out for their health and safety and the health and safety of all our students as they continue to pursue their studies in these challenging times,” Johnson said.

The decision to postpone fall sports comes less than a week after the Big Ten announced a restructured 2020 football schedule with a 10th conference game added for all schools amid a season that would extend from as early as Sept. 3 through Nov. 21.

“This is an incredibly sad day for our student-athletes, who have worked so hard and been so vigilant fighting against this pandemic to get this close to their season,” Athletics Director Gene Smith said. “My heart aches for them and their families.

“President-elect Johnson and I were totally aligned in our efforts to delay the start of the season rather than postpone. I am so grateful to her for all her efforts in support of our student-athletes and a traditional fall season.

“As an institution and as an athletic department, we have a responsibility first and foremost to care for the health, safety and wellness of our students and staff, and I believe we have done that successfully.”

Specifics and details with regard to what workout and training regimens will consist of this fall for the student-athletes involved with these sports are being determined. Resources currently in place that benefit these student-athletes at Ohio State will remain.

  • All of those student-athletes on scholarship will remain on scholarship.
  • COVID-19 testing by the Department of Athletics and quarantine/isolation protocols will continue for these student-athletes.
  • Access to team facilities and locker rooms, and sports performance, medical/training and nutrition areas will be available under the current health and safety protocols that are in place.
  • Tutoring, scheduling and additional services provided through the Student-Athlete Support Services Office are ongoing.
  • Comprehensive mental health services will continue for all student-athletes through the athletic department’s staff at its Sport Psychology and Wellness Services department.

32 Responses

  1. The liberals in this country are getting a lot of mileage out of this virus. Anything to slow economy down until the election. Then if they win ( very unlikely ) they can destroy the US economy with all their liberal ideas. Not a shocker the liberal universities going along with this crap. I’m sure the kids want to play. If other conferences play the damage to OSU FOOTBALL will take years to overcome.

    1. @Roger

      C‘mon. This is a sports website please post political points of view on a news site.

  2. Fascinating comments by a group of fascinating people in a fascinating country in a fascinating world! Exhibit A for why this country is going down the drain. Wake up people…what the BIG did is what EVERYBODY will end up doing. I would explain why that will happen but why bother.

  3. Based on many of these comments there will be plenty of available seats for the 2021/22 OSU season. While they are bandwagoning the SEC, ACC, and Big12 I’ll be enjoying plenty of elbow room at the Shoe.

    Go Bucks!

  4. This is a joke. Agree with Tom – OSU needs to drop out of B10 or at least get an exception to play this year. We are the only truly national program in the B10 – contribute massive $ to the conference and the school who’s players draft status and recruiting will be most hurt by the cancellation. Bottom line is you can’t run an elite national football program from the big Big 10 unless your willing to truly push back on stupid decisions. Gene Smith talks a lot but at the end of the day he rolls over and leaves our big time players (and Ryan Day) in a hole. If SEC and ACC play this season, OSU slides down to PSU and UM recruiting level and Ryan Day leaves within 2 years. That will be on Gene Smith not Kevin Warren.

  5. I wish Ohio State would drop out of the BIg Ten and I wouldn’t blame Justin Fields and the rest of the NFL eligilble players would opt out and get out of this conference and get ready for draft,and will probably lose a lot of recruits de committing and players transferring,these presidents pulled the plug way to early,it’s ashame,I feel for coach Day and his staff and the players!

  6. I hate the Big 10 so much right now there are no words. Second only to the CCP, who unleashed this on the world.

    1. Blame no one but the leaders of this country and the people who live here for this mess. Other countries have gotten this virus under control. Why couldn’t we do it? In Ohio there is a state mandate that everyone has to wear masks even at work. I work with people everyday who refuse to wear masks and the owners of the company won’t do anything about it.

  7. Gene Smith is a lightweight. OSU drives a very large chunk of the revenue for the B10. He could have force the B10’s hand (particularly if he got UM and PSU on board) to keep the season alive or at least gotten a carve out to play out of conference games if he was willing to play hard ball. He failed the players not by “not being able to come up with sufficient safety protocols” but because he doesn’t have the fortitude and foresight to make waves. This decision is going to cost top OSU players $$$ in the draft and significantly hurt recruiting going forward with top tier out of state players. Gene was a muddling AD who got lucky when Urban fell into his lap and elevated the program to an elite national level. Do you think this would be the outcome if a fighter like Urban Meyer who gets how devastating this will be to recruiting were AD? There are always choices – Gene choose the easy road so he could remain golfing buddies with the B10 AD’s instead of using OSU’s leverage to get an outcome in the best interest of the players and the program. We need an AD who gets how to play in the big leagues not one who is putting OSU on a path to be like a “we used to be really good” UM. #UrbanforAD

  8. The disappointment and disbelief haven’t sunk in yet. There won’t be any college football this fall. The other conferences will just look dumb for listening to the few medical “experts” who believe it is safe and will be forced to cancel at a later date. For those who say college athletes are safer than ordinary students…. what a load. Traveling and brutal in your face contact define a recipe for spread and it is inevitable that during a fall season young athletes will become extremely ill, permanently debilitated or worse. As hard as it is to hear, It is just not worth it and true fans of these young people will applaud the decision to postpone or cancel.

  9. I would ask why the Big Ten commissioner has voiced approval for his son to play in the SEC but closes down the Big Ten!

  10. Gene Smith is an over the hill guy who talks a good game but when push comes to shove is just a lot of hot air. OSU is the heavy weight in the B10 but rather than using that as leverage to force the B10 to play (OSU, UM and PSU working together easily could get that done) or looking to play outside games, Gene tucks his tail and runs vs getting it done for OSU players, coaches and fans.

    OSU is a national brand that is being held back by the B10 and this cancellation is going to diminish the program (imagine Saban’s and Dabo’s future recruiting pitches against OSU). Gene Smith is a mediocre AD that got lucky when Urban fell in his lap given his Ohio roots and took the program up to the elite level. Ryan Day can keep it going but only if he has an AD who can play in the big leagues not a guy talks tough but runs for the hills instead of when things get sticky. Imagine if Urban was OSU AD – I doubt B10 would have cancelled the season today and I know he’d be exploring how to play SEC and ACC teams instead of talking about B10 tradition and his focus on the spring season that we all know will never happen. Time for Gene to go before we end up a has been like UM. #UrbanforAD

  11. To answer your question, the difference between now and a week ago is the statement that the NCAA put out during that time, stating that universities are banned from issuing liability waivers to student athletes. That changed everything, The B1G universities do not want the liability issue if some of the players (or someone related to the program) gets the virus, then sues the school for a mint. Like it or not, that’s the reality of the situation: not risking millions of $$.

  12. Why kill all sports? No one can be PERFECTLY SAFE; it is a virus! I suspect well conditioned athletes have a fairly healthy immune system. What will it take to stop this “stay at home” mentality? How will we deal with next novel virus or even the next flu season?

  13. interesting how the so-called medical experts for the SEC and ACC told them a season should be able to be safely played–so who are the morons the Big Ten is listening to?! ..and seriously–what changed in the last week after the big ten came out with a revised schedule?? they did that then cancel? what happened in between? nothing got worse so this is all political BS and now the coaches, players, families and fans are all paying for it because some politically correct elitists ..I give Day and the new president and Smith credit for trying, although Smith is kinda a pushover and OSU should be allowed to play outside the big ten if other conferences are playing……this was a Ohio St. vs Clemson national title season and going to be losing a LOT of players….can’t believe this crap

  14. I have a flag pole in my front yard and my Ohio state Buckeyes flag is flying at half staff right now. Every Saturday starting in September it will be flown at half staff also.

  15. If other power conferences get to play this fall,I will lose all respect for the BigTen!

  16. Pee Wee football… High School football… and NFL football…. just no college football?

    1. I only watch and go to college football games. BTN will just keep showing old games.

    2. Perhaps the morons are the ones advising the SEC and ACC. I too was extremely disappointed yesterday, but unless you have all of the facts that the one’s making the decision have, perhaps you should step back and calmdown. Stroking out is not going to change anything. As much as I love TheOSU ( I am an alumnus-the singular form of alumni) I am glad they are putting the safety of the coaches, athletes, and support personnel first. If this decision bothers you enough to be angry at the BIG, then maybe a deep breath followed by a few logical thoughts would help.

      1. It’s always best to take a deep breath!

      2. All politics. Sad! A lot of people drinking the kool aid.

  17. sickening, unless acc sec and big 12 likewise cancel. if they dont, all the incredible good the past tressel, meyer and day regimes have accomplished to put bucks in the highest of high echelons will be lost. and being in the midwest with the football world having heading south and southwest the past 25+ years, hard to flip the switch. bucks won’t be the shiny new toy anymore to go head to head with the southern programs. crazy-stupid. like to see where the millions of dollars are supposed to come from now to support the machine. and as an alum since late 70’s, don’t look here now bub.

  18. Warren and the moronic college presidents who voted for this need canned ASAP…this is pathetic

  19. If the other conferences dont cancel their season then the big 10 most likely just set the conference back competitively for at least 3 years. How many top players in the conference are already looking at the transfer portal and how could the NCAA deny their waiver? And what about scholarship numbers if the players in the conference are granted an extra year of eligibility because of this and the effects on next years recruiting class? What about assistant coaches who say screw this I want to coach this year and leave for the SEC or the ACC? And where is the NCAA as the governing body for college sports who is always talking about fairness and level playing field in college athletics? I will be surprised if the ACC and Big 12 cancel and shocked if the SEC cancels.

  20. One wonders what this will cost the university in terms of immediate revenue; and longer term, recruiting as well as reputation among the nation’s high school juniors and seniors. Got to have an undesirable impact.

  21. Your student athletes are safer than your students. You have all the safe guards set. You are chickening out. For one, I do not believe these so called health experts. They have been wrong all through this. You will be sorry on 11-4 when this virus disappears. I hope you choke on your salaries.

  22. But your still bringing kids back on campus… that makes no sense. No way to manage the students coming back to campus, or control their interactions, but not concerned about that. You have protocols set for the athletes to follow, guidelines, testing, etc, most are doing online classes, But still go ahead and cancel season. Now there is a bigger threat to the athletes health and well being without having protocols estsblished to follow.

  23. Just tell everyone there will be no football in the big ten until Sept. 2021. Football next March, April, or May is just a dumb idea. Some of these guys will now just prepare for the NFL draft next April in Cleveland. I wonder how many athletes will stay in school and continue to pursue their education now that there are no Fall sports.

  24. This was the plan all along. “Feel good” mentality on full display.

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