Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith says that he and the university’s president-elect Kristina Johnson were in favor of delaying, not cancelling, fall sports in the B1G for the 2020 season. He released the statement after the B1G announced it had postponed its fall sports schedule until at least the spring.

On Tuesday, the B1G announced that it was cancelling fall sports, stating it will try to play again in the spring. It became the first Power 5 conference to make the move on fall sports. The MAC and Mountain West made the decision in recent days, as well.

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Smith said he and Johnson were aligned in their thoughts, and had hoped for a delay.

“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,” 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, staff and I believe we have done that successfully.”

Smith did not mention whether or not Ohio State will explore other options to playing fall sports.