Coronavirus: Ohio State athletes resume voluntary workouts

Ohio State football voluntary workouts are back on.

The athletics department announces Tuesday football players along with basketball, field hockey, soccer and women’s volleyball are able to return to working out after a one-week pause brought on by an unidentified number of positive COVID-19 tests July 7.

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According to the school, all athletes from the seven sports that returned last month for voluntary workouts were tested Monday, though it is not releasing information about test results.

“Our Buckeyes are excited to be headed into a new school year and were disappointed last week when we had to temporarily suspend training,” Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith said in a release. “These young people come from across the nation and the world to be part of our Ohio State family, and we do everything we can to create a safe, healthy environment so that they have a chance to study and compete. Our medical team will continue to evaluate, and we will share decisions as we move forward.”

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Smith said last week he is concerned about fall sports being canceled as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The Big Ten plans to play only conference games in all fall sports and is in the process of redoing schedules.

Although many other schools, including Big Ten rival Michigan, have published cumulative results of COVID-19 testing periodically, Ohio State maintains it cannot as a matter of protecting individual medical privacy of students.

According to OSU, athletes are to be tested routinely and following a strict set of protocols requiring masks, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning procedures and hygiene maintenance.

Last month, the NCAA approved a new football preseason calendar.

Beginning Monday, it allows schools to hold eight hours of mandatory activity per week that can include weight training, conditioning and film review.

From July 24-Aug. 6, football programs may require up to 20 hours per week, and that can include walk-throughs and meetings.

That would lead into the normal 29-day preseason practice period that begins Aug. 7 for teams scheduled to play their first game on Memorial Day weekend.

Ohio State was supposed to open the season hosting Bowling Green on Sept. 5, but that was canceled last week.

Smith said a new schedule could include the Buckeyes playing a Big Ten-only schedule that starts that day or even a week earlier, though that was to be determined.

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