Ryan Day understandably gave himself the 24-hour rule to have a pity party after Tuesday's terrible news that the season had been postponed. But the Buckeye leader woke up Wednesday morning motivated to find answers to a myriad of questions that most people are asking around the country.
Perhaps chief among them - what comes next for the Big Ten after yesterday's announcement? Is spring football truly a viable option?
Day addressed the media on a Zoom teleconference Wednesday afternoon and noted that they are looking at every option imaginable, but he shared his thoughts on what a schedule could look like.
“I think we need to try and start in January and play through March," Day said. "Something like an eight-week or nine-week season to create separation between this one and next season. Maybe it allows new guys to come in and essentially play a 2-for-1 in the same calendar year. I think some recruits would be excited about that. I know many of our current players are intrigued by that. But we need to put a plan together quickly, button it up and move forward.”
How quickly would he define moving quickly? Day says he wants answers in weeks, not months.
The other looming question for a spring campaign is whether the Buckeyes would be able to field the same team. One school of thought says the best college players shouldn't risk injury that close to the draft. Ohio State has arguably 12 players that will be drafted and another 13 that legitimately could prove themselves worthy of a selection.
Quarterback Justin Fields has nothing left to prove. Would he be willing to play this spring?
"I think Justin wants to see what the schedule is," Day said. "It’s our job to put a schedule and plan out quickly so that someone like Justin can plan his next few months. There was a report yesterday that maybe the NFL would consider moving the draft back and us having a winter/spring season. I think we need to start in the first week of January. It would allow a guy like Justin to play, but we need to get on this now and find answers."
While the Buckeyes can't control what happens in the SEC, ACC and Big 12, Day would love to see a scenario where there is still one playoff that everyone could compete it.
“Playing for the Big Ten Championship would be the first goal. Then, depending on what other conferences do, it would be exciting to still have a College Football Playoff. I would obviously much rather play a CFP than some type of split schedule with multiple champions.”
He also referenced that he doesn't want to see any sort of split national championship, one that recognizes a fall winner (if others play) and one for a "spring season."
While he didn't speak to the specific challenges of playing a Big Ten football schedule in January, February and March, there would undoubtedly be additional things to overcome with playing games that time of year. Namely, poor weather, crossing-over seasons with winter sports, travel and the training schedules leading up to a January season-kickoff.
Spring football is nobody's first choice, and frankly it isn't really anyone's second choice. But Day made it clear he will fight for his players to give them the experience they deserve at Ohio State - which includes continued health care and nutritional resources, weekly CoVID-19 testing, access to the strength staff and coaching staff, etc.