Ohio State's pause on voluntary workouts is coming to an end.
After going through another round of COVID-19 testing on Monday in which all athletes participating in voluntary workouts were tested, Ohio State turned on the green light for voluntary workouts to resume for seven sports teams – football, men's and women's basketball, field hockey, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball – to resume voluntary workouts.
In a statement released by Ohio State on Tuesday, athletic director Gene Smith said Ohio State athletes will be tested routinely moving forward and training decisions will continue to be reevaluated by medical staff to protect the health and safety of students.
“Our Buckeyes are excited to be headed into a new school year and were disappointed last week when we had to temporarily suspend training,” Smith said. “These young people come from across the nation and the world to be part of our Ohio State family, and we do everything we can to create a safe, healthy environment so that they have a chance to study and compete. Our medical team will continue to evaluate, and we will share decisions as we move forward.”
An Ohio State spokesperson said voluntary workouts will resume on Wednesday.
Ohio State shut down voluntary workouts last Wednesday, after previously reopening the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on football players on June 8 and other athletic facilities for the aforementioned sports teams later in June, due to an unspecified spike in positive COVID-19 cases. Ohio State has not released the results of any of its coronavirus testing, so it remains unclear how many athletes tested positive last week and if any athletes tested positive this week.
Per guidelines approved by the NCAA's Division I Council last month, Ohio State football coaches will now be able to observe workouts and conduct film review sessions for up to eight combined hours per week per player (with no more than two hours of film review). Players will not be penalized if they choose not to participate in workouts, however, as the Big Ten announced last week that “summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently permitted to engage in such activities.”
Those guidelines, which were designed for college football teams playing their season openers on Sept. 5 – Ohio State's scheduled Sept. 5 season opener against Bowling Green, as well as its Sept. 12 game against Oregon and Sept. 19 game against Buffalo, have all been canceled after the Big Ten announced last week that its fall sports teams would not play non-conference games this year – would allow for the Buckeyes to conduct up to 20 hours of countable athletically related activities, including six hours of walk-through football practices, beginning July 24.
Asked last week whether he thought the Buckeyes would be able to begin conducting full-team football practices next week, Smith said it was too early to say.
“You literally have to go day-by-day, week-by-week,” Smith said. “So we gotta see where things go next week across the country and locally, and then we have to make a decision on what week we’re gonna start relative to contests. So there’s a couple variables in there, but it’s too difficult for me to speculate at this point in time.”
The guidelines allowing football coaches to oversee workouts are for football only, so each of Ohio State's other sports teams currently participating in voluntary workouts will remain under offseason guidelines until their preseason practices begin.