Ryan Day Hopes Ohio State's Vaccination Rate Will Be “Close to 100%,” But Not Requiring Football Players to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

By Dan Hope on July 24, 2021 at 7:15 am
Ryan Day

Most but not all Ohio State football players have received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Ryan Day.

While Ohio State has not provided any specific data on how many players are vaccinated, Day said Friday that “a majority” of the team has been vaccinated, and he is hopeful that nearly the entire team will be vaccinated by the start of the season – though Ohio State is not requiring its players to get vaccinated, allowing each player to decide for themselves whether they should.

“It's one of those things where I think you really have to take a look at the certain risks,” Day said. “There's certain risks with everything. I think there's risks with the virus, there's risks with the vaccine, there's risks with testing positive, there's risks with contact tracing, not being able to play. And we have left that up to the players and we try to do everything we can to educate them with our medical people, sports medicine. But I feel like we're in a pretty good place. I think the majority of our guys have been vaccinated and a few more are continuing to get vaccinated. I know it's something that's unique to each guy and we’ve kind of left it up to them.

“You gotta weigh the risks of all those things, but we’re getting close. I feel like the guys are in the end, hopefully we get to close to 100%. We’ll see. In the end, we’re certainly not gonna make anybody, that’s their decision. But there’s risks with everything that they do. So I feel pretty good where we’re at, and hopefully as we get into the next week or two, we can add a few guys to that list.”

While most players have not revealed publicly whether or not they have been vaccinated, Day revealed Friday that the reason why wide receiver Chris Olave did not make the trip to Big Ten Media Days – as he was originally scheduled to – was because he is scheduled to receive his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this weekend. Day, himself, was vaccinated in March.

Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert, who attended Big Ten Media Days in Olave’s place, confirmed that he has been vaccinated – though he said he didn’t feel pressured by the program to do so, nor has he pressured his teammates to get vaccinated.

“I got the vaccine just because I didn't want to have to go through testing and everything like that. Obviously it could benefit my health and people around me,” Ruckert said. “I wouldn't be mad if someone did or didn't. It's important to just realize that at the end of the day, it's your body and do what you want.”

Ohio State defensive end Zach Harrison said he believes vaccination is a personal decision for each player.

“Whatever they feel safe doing is what they should do,” Harrison said. 

That said, Ruckert said Ohio State has educated its players on the potential consequences of not getting the vaccine.

“It's important to realize that there are certain precautions if you don't get the vaccine as far as you still have to go through testing, you still have to go through the quarantine rule if you get (contact) traced,” Ruckert said. “They kind of did a really good job of educating that. We had doctors come on and speak to us, have meetings with that, kind of just laying it out but not really pressuring anyone to do something or not do something.”

The Big Ten has not yet announced its COVID-19 policies for the 2021 season, though multiple other college football conferences – including the SEC and the MAC – have said that games postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks will be deemed forfeits and will not be rescheduled. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said Thursday that the conference will finalize its policies in August after each of the conference’s member institutions finalize their own COVID-19 protocol for the upcoming school year.

View 209 Comments