COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State football coach Ryan Day released a statement on Twitter saying, “Our players want to know: Why can’t they play?”
Day said he understands the Big Ten’s decision to postpone the football season due to health and safety considerations. But he added communication from the Big Ten has been “disappointing and often unclear.”
Day said his players and their parents have asked many questions he doesn’t know the answer to but says the one that hurts him the most is why Ohio State and the rest of the Big Ten can’t play while three other power five conferences are playing this fall, including the ACC and Big 12, which have games this weekend.
Day’s statement comes on the same day Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he believes, after conversations with OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith and OSU President Dr. Kristina Johnson, that OSU has a “good argument” for why they should be able to try to play sports this fall.
Prior to Day’s statement, the Big Ten received considerable push back after Ohio State quarterback and 2019 Heisman finalist Justin Fields started a petition to reinstate Big Ten football this fall. The petition received more than 300,000 signatures.
Fields’ effort, along with those of his teammates on social media, have been equaled by OSU players’ parents who organized a protest outside of Big Ten headquarters in Indianapolis three weeks ago and rallied at the Horseshoe two weeks ago demanding answers and clarity from the Big Ten.
Dr. Johnson’s stance on Ohio State being allowed to play football and all other fall sports became clear a week ago when the Big Ten announced presidents and chancellors voted 11-3 to postpone fall sports this year. The Big Ten’s announcement was public because of a lawsuit from Nebraska football players.
Dr. Johnson, along with presidents at Iowa and Nebraska, voted in favor of playing fall sports.
The Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports is also getting push back from lawmakers. On Wednesday, several Midwest Republican lawmakers called on the Big Ten to play while Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he would recommend Ohio State sue the conference if it cancels football.
Yost told NBC4 that if the Big Ten cancels the season, it would be in violation of contracts and cost the university a significant amount of money.
“This is all about contract action — a violation of contract, and if you violate a contract and the other person loses money, you could be sued for that and that’s what we’re talking about,” Yost said.
The attorney general has yet to discuss a possible lawsuit with university leaders. He said that will happen after a decision in the event one is made to cancel the season.
A spokesperson for Ohio State told NBC4 that no one with the university would comment on the recommendation.
A request for comment from the Big Ten has not been returned.