Ohio State football players and their parents were asked to sign an acknowledgement of risk waiver for COVID-19 before the Buckeyes returned to voluntary workouts on the Columbus, Ohio, campus.
The Columbus Dispatch obtained the two-page document. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith told ESPN the school doesn’t “look at [the waiver] as a legal document.”
All players have signed the waiver. Parents or legal guardians signed the waiver for incoming freshman yet to turn 18 years old. Players returned to campus June 8 for the voluntary workouts.
“It’s a Buckeye pledge,” Smith said. “Allow us to help you so that if we face a situation, our trainers, our strength coaches, our coaches or any athletic administrator sees a student-athlete not wearing a mask or not social distancing, we can say, ‘Hey, you made a commitment. You signed a pledge. Your parents signed a pledge. Your parents are a part of this.'”
Players agreed to be tested and potential self quarantine, have their symptoms monitored, to report potential exposure in a timely manner and to practice Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, when they signed the pledge. Failure to comply with the pledge could lead to removal of athletic participation privilege or inability to use athletic facilities, but will not result in a lost scholarship.
Smith got the idea for the pledge from Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass during a weekly conference call with other athletic directors from the Big Ten.
The waiver states that those who sign it “understand COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus and it is possible to develop and contract the COVID-19 disease, even if [they] follow all of the safety precautions above and those recommended by the CDC, local health department, and others.”
Buckeyes football players are allowed to use the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and Schumaker Complex. Basketball players will resume workouts this week at the Schottenstein Center.