Ohio State AD Gene Smith shares message on getting athletics back 'as soon as possible'
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith has released a statement of his own, reassuring Buckeye fans that the department is making strides to returning to competition as early as possible.
Smith’s letter comes more than a week after the B1G announced it was postponing fall sports. It also came on the same day that commissioner Kevin Warren released his own statement, clarifying why the conference decided to cancel sports in the fall.
Below are some of the key statements from Smith’s letter:
I want to thank [president-elect] Dr. [Kristina] Johnson for her unwavering support. She has been 100% aligned with Coach Day and me as we have moved through the decision process.
We benefit greatly from her keen insights and understanding of intercollegiate athletics as an administrator and a former student athlete.
The university has implemented robust health-and-safety measures, including physical distancing, face mask and hygiene requirements throughout our campuses and classrooms, testing and contact tracing protocols, wellness resources, and more.
We can all help our student-athletes get back to competition as soon as possible by doing our part: No social gatherings of more than 10 people, wearing our masks, washing our hands and keeping at least 6 feet apart.
Together as Buckeyes, we can do this. It will require all of our students, faculty and staff doing their parts, along with the broader community, to stay safe and healthy and fight the spread of the virus. We are optimistic that Buckeyes will do what we always do, step up, band together and get the job done.
The Ohio State University is confident that we have the safety protocols and rigorous safeguards in place for our student-athletes to practice and return to competition immediately.
While a decision has been made by the presidents of the Big Ten Conference to postpone the fall season, we view this as a temporary delay, and Dr. Johnson has directed us to prepare for the possibility of bringing at least some of our fall sports back to practice and competition by the end of the year. We are actively planning for the winter and spring seasons for all sports, including the return of football.
As an athletics director at a Big Ten institution, I will always be respectful of our conference as it provides an outstanding platform for our student-athletes to pursue the championship experience. The health and safety of all our students, coaches and support staff is our highest priority. The conference has established the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force to develop plans for winter and spring competition models. I want to thank Dr. Johnson for her participation on this task force
We are focused on creating an environment for our student-athletes to continue to have a quality educational experience at Ohio State this fall. All services will continue to be available, including academic support, strength and conditioning training, sports psychology assistance and skill instruction, to name a few.
We are hopeful our medical experts will continue to learn more about COVID-19 and its effects, our society at large will respond to the requests to implement measures/protocols that contribute to a safe and healthy environment for all, and our research scientists will be successful in their quest to develop a vaccine.
The B1G is currently working on a plant o bring football back for the winter or spring months. No final decisions have been made at this time.
The B1G is one of two Power 5 conferences that will not be playing football this fall at this time. The Pac-12 joined the B1G last week, as well.