Several Ohio State coaches are not staying at their homes as a precaution to limit the risk of COVID-19 entering the Buckeyes football program as the team prepares for the season.
Coach Ryan Day said there’s no requirement on where coaches must live but said some have chosen not to stay with their families because of the COVID-19 risk. Ohio State is scheduled to kick off the season Oct. 24 at home against Nebraska. After the Big Ten reinstated the football season on Sept. 16, Ohio State and other conference teams are playing nine consecutive weeks with no open dates.
“I don’t think people realize the sacrifices everyone is making to play a season,” Day said Friday.
Ohio State is conducting daily COVID-19 testing for 120 players and 50 staff members deemed to be in “Tier 1” because of their regular contact with players.
“Didn’t put any guidelines in place or tell somebody how to handle their business at all,” Day said. “We just talked about how having school-aged children who are going to school is a risk. They’re at school, they’re exposed. Some of the sports leagues are still going on and they’re playing. It’s an exposure, it’s an unknown, so to be aware of it; each guy’s handling it their own way.
“It isn’t easy.”
Day said coaches who aren’t living at home are finding opportunities to see their families, especially in outdoor settings with masks on. No one outside the players and Tier 1 staff is allowed at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, where Ohio State is conducting practices and meetings.
“My family, we’re still trying to figure this part of it out,” Day said. “This is all new for us, major challenge, but we’re working through it and you try to figure out what’s best. When I go in the house, I’m wearing a mask. It’s one of those things that our staff is very, very concerned about their day-to-day operation.”
Day has stressed to coaches and players not to “get tired” of the virus, as “it’ll get you really fast.” Big Ten rules state that any player who tests positive for COVID-19 will miss at least 21 days before returning to competition.
“Here, when we’re in the building, we feel really, really safe,” Day said. “We know there’s 170 people who test daily that are clean. It’s a great feeling to know when you’re around our bubble here, you’re good. But once you leave here, everything changes. Honestly, it’s scary because it can ruin your whole season just like that with one day, with one exposure.”