OSU's Ryan Day Shies From What-Ifs on Canceling Season

Buckeyes head coach persevering through precautions, waiting for resolution

Ryan Day's baptism as Ohio State's head coach came amid curious circumstances for which there was no textbook preparation, so perhaps that's where he learned not to jump to conclusions about unknowns and what-ifs.

Day, who coached his first three games at OSU as the fill-in for a suspended Urban Meyer, now has the reins to himself during the unprecedented national COVID-19 precautions that have shelved spring football and every other college sport as the pandemic spreads.

Will it impact the coming college football season?

Cancel the season?

Delay or shorten the season?

"I don’t know," Day said Wednesday. "I really don’t. For me to comment on it, I'd just be ignorant to what's real and what isn't. There are so many scenarios out there, you can go down a lot of rabbit holes. Until we know for sure, we're kind of wasting energy, because we don't know."

OSU is better-equipped that most teams to bounce back from the inactivity, however long it lasts.

The Buckeyes have the most returning talent in the Big Ten, and perhaps in the nation, led by Heisman Trophy finalist Justin Fields at quarterback.

But Fields and every other Ohio State player is on their own, although under daily check-ins from coaches and heavy monitoring by parents -- in most cases -- as Day and his staff wait for some clarity on when they can get their hands on their team.

Assuming they can, if the season isn't cancelled.

"That would be awful," Day said. "I'm trying not to get that far down the road. I'm trying to do a great job with today. That sounds cliched. Until we start to know more, which I'm hoping we do over the next two or three weeks, to forecast it out, it's hard to get that far ahead of ourselves."

While Ohio State has officially cancelled its spring football game, originally set for April 11, it has the potential to get on the practice field if classes resume on campus after an imposed March 30 deadline.

The Big Ten suspended all organized team activities through April 6 and cancelled all varsity sports in the spring season several weeks ago.

The April 6 deadline will likely be extended, although how long depends upon developments that cannot be predicted.

Day said he has spoken to some Big Ten coaches and will be networking with all his conference colleagues soon.

The unknowns far outnumber the knowns at this juncture, including:

  • What protocols will be put in place if activities are resumed and individual players subsequently test positive?
  • Would players be quarantined for a length of time mandated by the conference, or will that be left to individual schools;
  • What if one team in the league suffers widespread outbreaks and its opponent is health, would a forfeit result?
  • Can a representative season be played if the virus impacts certain states in a conference that stretches from New Jersey to Nebraska, but does not impact other states? 

"I don't think we know yet," Day said of the far-reaching impact. "A lot of it has to do with how long the quarantine lasts and what kind of shape our guys can stay in in this period.

"It's very important that we stay in great shape physically. It wasn't that long ago that t guys came in in August, they got themselves in shape, they went through preseason camp and you did everything you could to get them into shape to get them to go play in September.

"That model is out there. It's very different than what's happened over the last 10 or 15 years. We'll adjust the best we can and try to solve the problems as they come. It's hard to project what some of the major issues are going to be until we know how long we are in this."

For the latest on Ohio State follow Sports Illustrated Buckeye Maven on Facebook and @BuckeyeMaven on Twitter.