Portsmouth, Ohio football fans, listen up. THE Ohio State football returns on October 24 despite COVID. The Big Ten reversed its decision to postpone football and other sports until spring due to COVID. Now the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted to resume the season the weekend of October 23-24.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost applauded the decision, “The initial decision warranted further review – everyone wants the kids to be safe moving forward – but with comprehensive testing and medical protocols in place, the return to fall sports is a winning move. While it took longer than I wanted, the decision to allow sports again at The Ohio State University and other member universities is the correct one. This was always about fairness and being equitable in the agreement between the conference and the universities. Going forward it’s my hope that the future of the Big Ten is always fought on the field and not in the courtroom.”
According to a statement, “The decision was based on information presented by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force, a working group that was established by the COP/C and Commissioner Kevin Warren to ensure a collaborative and transparent process.”
Under the new rules athletes, coaches, trainers, and others involved with the team must undergo daily antigen tests for COVID. The tests must come back negative before each practice or game. The diagnosis would then be confirmed with the more accurate PCR test.
“Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities,” said Dr. Jim Borchers, Head Team Physician, The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee.
COVID positive students are required to undergo:
- comprehensive cardiac testing
- labs and biomarkers
- Cardiac MRI
A cardiologist specializing in COVID after-effects must clear the student to play. The earliest a student-athlete can return to game competition is 21 days following a COVID-19 positive diagnosis.
Red Alert System
A color-coded system similar to the State’s COVID alerts system will be used to determine if practice and games continue. It will be based on the 7-day average of positive tests.
Team positivity rate (the number of positive tests divided by the total number of tests administered):
- Green 0-2%
- Orange 2-5%
- Red >5%
Population positivity rate (the number of positive individuals divided by total population at risk):
- Green 0-3.5%
- Orange 3.5-7.5%
- Red >7.5%
COVID could still stop Ohio State Football. Decisions to alter or halt practice and competition will be based on the following scenarios:
- Green/Green and Green/Orange: Team continues with normal practice and competition.
- Orange/Orange and Orange/Red: Team must proceed with caution and enhance COVID-19 prevention (alter practice and meeting schedule, consider the viability of continuing with scheduled competition).
- Red/Red: Team must stop regular practice and competition for a minimum of seven days and reassess metrics until improved.
The daily testing will begin by September 30, 2020.