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Gene Smith: Ohio State actively planning for winter and spring seasons for fall sports

Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith issued a statement Wednesday afternoon laying out the plan for fall sports to resume.
FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2019, file photo, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields plays against Penn State during an NCAA college football game, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith issued a statement Wednesday afternoon laying out the plan for fall sports to resume.

His statement was released shortly after the commissioner of the Big Ten Conference wrote a letter saying the decision to postpone fall sports would not be revisited.

“As an athletics director at a Big Ten institution, I will always be respectful of our conference as it provides an outstanding platform for our student-athletes to pursue the championship experience. The health and safety of all our students, coaches and support staff is our highest priority,” Smith said.

In his statement issued on the behalf of the Ohio State and President-elect Dr. Kristina M. Johnson, Smith said the university is actively planning for the winter and spring seasons of all sports, including the return of football.

“While a decision has been made by the presidents of the Big Ten Conference to postpone the fall season, we view this as a temporary delay, and Dr. Johnson has directed us to prepare for the possibility of bringing at least some of our fall sports back to practice and competition by the end of the year,” he said.

Additionally, Smith said the university is confident that they have the safety protocols and safeguards in place for student-athletes to practice and return to competition immediately.

In his statement, Smith also thanks Dr. Johnson as well as student-athletes, coaches, physicians, faculty and staff for their hard during these times.

He also thanked the fans for their passion and support.

“This has been a very difficult time for Buckeye Nation, and we want you all to know that we hear your voices and we share your passion. We want to play the game. We will have our student-athletes back to competition as soon as possible,” Smith said.

Smith also calls upon everyone to do their part so the student-athletes can get back to competition.

“Together as Buckeyes, we can do this. It will require all of our students, faculty and staff doing their parts, along with the broader community, to stay safe and healthy and fight the spread of the virus. We are optimistic that Buckeyes will do what we always do, step up, band together and get the job done,” he said.