CoVID-19 Thoughts to Consider with Ohio State Football this Fall

Jake Hromada

If you're not already rejoicing over the Big Ten's decision to play football this fall, keep celebrating. If you've calmed down a bit and are curious about the limitations each Big Ten school will face during the season, keep reading.

In a press release by the Big Ten, they made clear that new medical advancements made it possible for the league to reinstate the season. These medical protocols (if you haven't read already) include: daily, rapid antigen testing for players, coaches and anyone on the field during practice or a game; each institution designating a Chief Infection Officer (CInO); athletes that test positive will miss a minimum of 21 days before returning to game action; and team continuation determined by team positivity rate and population positivity rate that are based on a seven-day rolling averages.

The league must begin daily testing by Sept. 30, but some teams are planning to implement their new protocols earlier.

Based on that, here are some things to consider:

What if someone tests positive?

If a player tests positive, the soonest they can come back to action is 21 days after their positive test. That means they could potentially miss three to four games. The athlete would have to undergo comprehensive cardiac testing to include labs and biomarkers, ECG, Echocardiogram and a Cardiac MRI. After that, he would have to receive clearance from a cardiologist designated by the university. Safety is the absolute most important thing here, but there's not a lot of wiggle room if a star player tests positive.

What if a team has multiple positives? Do they stop playing?

Based on a seven-day rolling average, if a team has a positive rate greater than five percent and the population has a rate greater than seven-and-a-half percent, the team must stop regular practice and competition for a minimum of seven days and reassess metrics until they improve.

If a team sees a positivity rate of three-and-a-half to five percent and the population sees a rate greater than seven-and-a-half percent, then the team must proceed with caution and enhance its CoVID-19 prevention practices.

As Nicole Auerbach reports, "population" refers to each team's rostered players, coached, staff members and anyone else affiliated with the program that is subject to daily antigen testing.

What if multiple teams have high positivity rates?

If multiple teams in the Big Ten have this issue, it might be awhile before they can take the field again. Again, players have to miss a minimum of 21 days before they can return to action. If this happens, then do we not have football again or do we have some football? An educated guess would be some football.

Will Injuries Pile Up in a 9-Game Season and No Bye?

Potentially, but this isn't terribly different than a typical schedule. A bye week means more than the average fan thinks. Bodies will be banged up despite the fact that teams will have nearly six weeks now to get "game ready."

Since the conference has determined that it can conduct this season safely, this is the best option available to also protect the integrity of the 2021 season. It becomes a shorter season, but the ending time is exactly the same as it would've been in a non-pandemic.

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