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.