Just two days after a group of Big Ten football players took to The Players' Tribune to voice concerns over their safe returns to training sessions and games during the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio State student-athletes came together to write that their programs represent "what college athletics should look like amid COVID-19."
In the same week that at least 10 Colorado State football players and staff accused that school's football program of a COVID-19 cover-up allegedly meant to keep players on practice fields, Ohio State athletes wrote that "CDC and state guidelines have been the foundation of our protocols."
Back in July, the OSU Department of Athletics temporarily paused voluntary workouts for seven programs, including football, following the results of coronavirus testing of athletes. The school kept the exact results of those tests private.
Sarah Wynn of ABC 6 out of Columbus shared the entire letter from the OSU athletes:
"To the college athletics community,
"In response to the #BigTenUnited letter written by college athlete unity, The Ohio State University student-athletes would like to give our thoughts on conference and university COVID-19 protocols and safety efforts.
"We believe our institution is providing the proper structure and organization for safety. Here at Ohio State, we #SetTheStandard for what college athletics should look like amid COVID-19.
"First, we appreciate that the #BigTenUnited letter was intended to protect and voice concerns of Big Ten student-athletes. However, we do not think it represents the efforts and actions of Ohio State adequately. While there are still plenty of questions to be answered and plans to be made in order to compete this fall, we believe that our safety has been at the forefront of our institutions' efforts for return to play models. We feel comfortable and trust that the decisions made by Gene Smith (Athletic Director), Dr. Borchers (head Physician), our coaches, and health and safety professionals are made in our best interest.
"It has been said that college athletes are being 'exploited' not only in the stated letter but also in the media. We recognize that there are risks, but we have all chosen to be here and want the chance to play this fall. We know that there is still a long way to go as plans continue to change everyday, but we have a consistent voice in the discussion.
"CDC and state guidelines have been the foundation of our protocols. Our university has been transparent in their goals and process as information is gathered, testing, wearing masks, hand washing, and proper social distancing have become the new normal at Ohio State. As Buckeyes, we want this to be the standard across all Big Ten universities for the safety and well-being of our fellow student-athletes.
"Every day we recognize the privilege of being a student-athlete at The Ohio State University. We have been reassured across many levels that we can opt out of playing this year if we feel unsafe or uncomfortable. We embrace the inherent risks that come with competing at a collegiate level. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we choose to represent our teams and the Big Ten at practices, during competition and in the community.
"We respect that these thoughts about safety and protocols may not be shared by all student-athletes across the country, but as Ohio State Buckeyes, we stand with the decisions of our athletic department and conference.
"The Ohio State University Student Athletes"