The Buckeyes are back in the WHAC.
Voluntary workouts resumed at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Monday morning, following a hiatus from all in-person team-related activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and several Ohio State football players were in the building as early as possible – but not without precautions.
Players began arriving as early as 6:30 a.m. on Monday morning at staggered time slots, entering through one door and exiting from another while adhering to social distancing measures inside the building. Players and coaches wore masks upon their arrival and media was asked to stay at least six feet apart.
Workouts are scheduled between 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Monday with workout windows scheduled throughout the day. While only nine players are permitted to work out together, the WHAC has four different workout locations inside, allowing for four groups of nine to be in the building at the same time.
Before players were cleared to participate in the voluntary workouts, players also had to go through the following steps:
- A physical examination administered on campus by Ohio State team physicians and athletic trainers
- Education through modules and videos to ensure an understanding of safe physical distancing practices
- Additional education on wearing appropriate face coverings, transportation, hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfecting at home
- COVID-19 testing and quarantine for 24-48 hours or until test results are available
- An online video walkthrough of the facility
Players are not allowed to access the locker room, showers, players' lounge or dining areas at the WHAC, and the training room will be by appointment only. Numerous other safety protocols are also in place, including daily temperature screens and symptom checks upon arrival, hands washed before and after each workout, and hydration stations with individual bottled water. Because they are voluntary, coaches are not allowed to observe workouts, but Mickey Marotti and his strength and conditioning coaches are present to oversee the workouts.
Players leaving the building are being sent home with clean clothes, food, washable masks and other protective equipment, while leaving their workout clothes behind to be washed by the equipment staff.
By the end of the day, the vast majority of Ohio State's 2020 football players were spotted arriving back at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to participate in their first voluntary workouts of the summer, including starting quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma transfer running back Trey Sermon and all 11 of the new freshmen who were not early enrollees.
It looks a bit different, but the Buckeyes are finally one step closer to football in the fall.
Check out Eleven Warriors' photos from the Buckeyes' return to the WHAC in the gallery above.