Gene Smith Hasn't Considered Potential Changes to Big Ten's Six-Game Requirement and 21-Day Absence Protocols, But Doesn't Rule Them Out

By Kevin Harrish on November 28, 2020 at 1:13 pm
Gene Smith

Gene Smith hasn't talked to the Big Ten about changes to the conference's virus protocol – yet.

Ohio State is facing a surge in players sidelined with positive COVID-19 tests and is just one canceled game away from becoming ineligible for the Big Ten championship game.

That's undoubtedly a concern for the Buckeyes, who might push for changes to the Big Ten's rules mandating a 21-day absence period for players after testing positive and requiring six games for Big Ten championship eligibility, but it's not one Smith has given much thought to yet.

“No, the conversations have not occurred,” Smith said. “I understand that question and understand that people are thinking about that, but that’s not where we are.”

In the immediate aftermath of the outbreak and the canceled game, Smith said he has not yet begun to consider those things with his efforts and attention on the players and what they need during this time.

“My concern today is making sure our players get fed. Making sure if they need a sports psychologist's help, they get that," Smith said. "I get the question. I'm very sensitive to that. But that’s not where we are. I mean we made a decision late last night to do what we did, so a lot of things occurred late last night. So that last thing on my mind was [potential changes to the protocol]."

But Smith certainly did not rule out those conversations taking place in the future.

“Might that come up later at some point? No question. But right now, I haven’t even thought about it,” Smith said. “I want to make sure Ryan’s got what he needs, and I want to make sure the young men that have tested positive have what they need and I want to continue to talk to our doctors and others about whatever enhanced protocols we move forward with to give them a chance to possibly play Michigan State.”

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