COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Step by step, things are progressing towards college football returning in the fall.
The Ohio State University football returned to campus Monday for voluntary workouts. It’s the first time the team has been back together in the football facility in months.
The workouts began at 6:30 a.m. and the last group walked out of The Woody Hayes Athletic Center around 3:30 p.m. To abide by distancing guidelines, the players are split up into nine designated groups that show up at different times for their workouts.
The only coaches permitted to work with the players during these practices are performance staff, trainers and managers. Ryan Day and the staff were at the facility, but could not oversee the workouts. They are, however, communicating with the players via virtual meetings.
Things look a lot different than the last time the team stepped inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. In fact, players had to watch a video before returning to the building that was a walkthrough of the facility. Locker rooms, the players’ lounge, those kinds of common areas are closed off. All the doors inside are propped open to try to prevent players from touching additional surfaces.
When the student-athletes get to the indoor practice facility, they have a designated area to get ready that’s marked with a stool or chair, their cleats and a towel. The players put on their workout gear before getting to campus and leave in the same clothes. They then take with them their fresh set of workout attire for tomorrow, and when they return the next day, bring with them the previous day’s clothes for the staff to wash and disinfect on site.
As players walked into the building, you couldn’t see their smiles as most of them wore masks, but the energy was evident and for the freshmen, today was a day they’ve been looking forward to for months, and in some cases, years.
“It’s a surreal moment to be honest,” said Josh Fryar, a freshman offensive lineman from Beech Grove, Indiana. “I didn’t think this would ever happen. Like the day we left for college, I didn’t ever think this was gonna happen. It’s surreal and just being with my teammates and stuff is awesome.”
More sports will return to OSU’s campus in the weeks to come. Next Monday, June 15, men’s and women’s basketball can return to the Schottenstein Center for voluntary workouts. Then, on June 22, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, and women’s volleyball can begin their voluntary practices.