Ohio State President Kristina Johnson Praises Big Ten Decision

Tyler Stephen

In her first public appearance since taking over the reigns as Ohio State’s president on August 24, Dr. Kristina M. Johnson addressed several local and national reporters in a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The former chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY), Johnson, similar to others in recent days, pointed squarely towards rapid testing as the turning point in the Big Ten’s reversal of its previous decision to cancel all fall sports on August 11.

“The plan developed by the subcommittee provides for rigorous testing protocols to keep all of our athletes safe when they cannot social distance or wear masks.” the Buckeye president said. “This was crucial in reaching the unanimous decision for our football teams to return to competition.”

After indefinitely suspending the fall season over a month ago, the Big Ten conference had received incredible pushback from players and parents alike, spearheaded by star cornerback Shaun Wade’s father who organized protests in both Chicago (Big Ten Headquarters) and Columbus.

Johnson, however, firmly stood behind the conference and praised its deliberate process in making sure every action would be taken to keep each athlete safe in their sport.

“This is what we’ve always wanted - an opportunity for our student-athletes to compete in the sports they love. I want to thank my Big Ten colleagues and commissioner Warren for their thoughtful deliberations. We had to study and create safe environments for our student-athletes.”

Johnson also referenced the recent encouraging trend in Ohio State student cases on campus. In previous weeks, the positivity rate had been as high as 7 percent, compared to the current weekly average of just 2.2 percent.

The Big Ten now joins the ACC, Big 12, and SEC as Power 5 conferences competing this fall. The Pac-12 has yet to reverse its original decision to suspend all sports until January of 2021.

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