Ohio State Football Players Are Being Required To Sign Coronavirus Risk Waivers

A general view of Ohio Stadium during the game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Ohio Bobcats
Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Ohio State football players that returned to campus earlier this month were required to sign waivers before they were allowed to work out. Joey Kaufman of the Columbus Dispatch reported on Sunday that the “acknowledgment of risk” document was two pages long and detailed the health risks involved with workouts and other athletic activities amid the coronavirus pandemic. The document also required the athletes to follow strict health and safety protocols implemented by the school.

The waiver was referred to as the Buckeye Pledge, and it asks players who want to take part in the voluntary practices to “pledge to take responsibility for my own health and help stop the spread of the COVID-19.”

The waiver goes on to explain to the athletes that although the university is following the guidelines issued by the CDC and other experts in order to slow the spread of the virus, the players can never be completely shielded from every risk of infection and sickness. Some players, who have not yet turned 18, had to have a parent or guardian sign the waiver.

Kaufman reported the Ohio State football players were the first wave of athletes that had to sign the pledge because they were the first to return to action. The Buckeyes football players returned to campus on Monday in order to train and practice without the supervision of coaches. Basketball players for both the men’s and women’s teams are being allowed back on campus next week. They will reportedly have to sign the Buckeye Pledge as well.

While the form did say that players who refused to sign and adhere to the rules wouldn’t be allowed to participate in team activities, they would not see their scholarships affected.

In March, the NCAA banned all on-campus practices and recruiting visits because of the coronavirus pandemic. In late May, the organization lifted the ban and several teams have allowed players to return.

The New York Post reported earlier this week that allowing players back on campus at the University of Houston was shortlived. The school suspended all voluntary workouts after six players tested positive for COVID-19. The university has said it doesn’t believe any of the players caught the virus while they were working out with their teammates, but it has still shut the campus down out of an “abundance of caution.”

Ohio State officials said they ordered an initial round of tests for every player that reported to campus. The school has not released the results of those tests.