Ohio State football took a very small step toward a return to normalcy on Monday. It’s not a game, or a practice, or even an offseason workout.
But after more than two months of absolute lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some Buckeye football coaches were back in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Wide receivers coach Brian Hartline tweeted out a photo of himself in his position room.
“It sure feels good to be back in the Woody Hayes Facility this morning! Even if it’s only for a couple hours,” Hartline wrote.
Things are still far from normal in the building.
An OSU spokesman confirmed to TheOzone that only 25 coaches are returning to work at this point, 13 on the offensive side of the ball and 12 on defense. Each of them has to undergo a symptom assessment before entering the building, including a temperature check. Once in the building, they must follow physical distancing guidelines, and wear a mask when together with other people.
They will only be at the WHAC for three hours per day, three hours per week. Those hours are staggered to limit the number of people in the building at any given time.
There is a hard cap of 10 coaches in any meeting rooms, although the spokesman clarified that there likely won’t be that many people in the building at a time.
A number of parts of the facility including the weight room, training room, dining area, locker room, and indoor practice field are totally off-limits.
No players are currently allowed in the facility, and the school has already canceled all campus events through at least July 6.
The return of the coaching staff coincides with an announcement from OSU’s transition task force over the weekend that “a limited number of essential academic and clinical operations have resumed” on campus.
Three months ago, this all would have seemed absolutely impossible to believe. Now, it feels like progress.
And perhaps it’s a sign that three months from now, there might be real hope for a football season in Columbus after all.
— Brian Hartline (@brianhartline) May 18, 2020