Gene Smith has confirmed, once again, that Ohio State won't be playing football this fall.
Although Ryan Day refused to close the door on a potential fall season earlier Wednesday, saying it was a “fluid situation” and that he and Smith had discussed options on Wednesday morning, Smith told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg on Wednesday evening that Ohio State is no longer exploring the possibility of playing outside the Big Ten structure this fall.
Just got off the phone with #Buckeyes AD Gene Smith, who confirmed Ohio State is no longer exploring options for fall competition. "There's not a fall option. We had hoped and just realized that not too long ago. We're all about the spring and how do we set that up."— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) August 12, 2020
More from #Buckeyes AD Gene Smith: "We just embraced the spring. I think it's realistic. We hadn't spent any time on it. None. Now that we are, it becomes clear that it's realistic."— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) August 12, 2020
“Ohio State has continued its communications with the Big Ten Conference office regarding a scenario to still play fall football games, but has now determined that this would not be an allowable opportunity for us to move toward,” Smith confirmed in a statement shortly after he spoke to Rittenberg. “We are 100 percent focused on supporting the health and safety and academic success of our student-athletes, and on working with the Big Ten to develop a spring plan for our sports as expeditiously as possible.”
We are 100% focused on supporting the health and safety and academic success of our student-athletes, and on working with the Big Ten to develop a spring plan for our sports as expeditiously as possible.— gene smith (@OSU_AD) August 12, 2020
While Day wanted to exhaust all potential options for Ohio State to be able to play this fall, that would have required going against the Big Ten's decision made Tuesday as a conference to postpone fall sports to the spring. In reference to Nebraska, who has also expressed a desire to play this fall even if that means going outside the conference, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren told Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel on Tuesday that Nebraska could not do that and continue to be a member of the conference.
Ohio State will now focus all of its efforts on preparing for the potential to play football this spring, which both Day and Smith have said they believe is a realistic option. Day said Wednesday that his proposal is for the Big Ten to play an eight- or nine-game season beginning in January.