COLUMBUS — Ohio State football coach Ryan Day doesn’t think the Big Ten should wait until spring to play again.
If Day had his way, the spring football season that has been suggested as a possible replacement for the fall football season, which was shut down by a vote of the Big Ten’s presidents on Tuesday, would kick off eight to 10 weeks before the calendar says it’s spring.
“I think we have to start it as soon as we can. I think starting the first week of January would be the best way to go,” Day said on a teleconference on Wednesday. That way there is some separation between that season and the next season.
“If you play a full schedule and you play it starting in the spring I think you’re asking for trouble. But if you play an eight or possibly nine-game season and push it back to starting in January, then I think that is real. The number of games and start date is important,” he said.
He also said Ohio State hasn’t ruled out the possibility of some sort of competition in the fall.
“That’s a fluid situation. Gene (OSU athletic director Gene Smith) and I talked again this morning at length about this. We’re still exploring all those options. We’re trying to explore every option possible.
“We owe it to our kids to do that. I can’t get into specifics because there are a lot of unknowns, but we’re asking all the questions and we’re pushing the envelope as much as we can. We’ve got to make sure we turn over every stone,” he said.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, Penn State coach James Franklin, Nebraska coach Scott Frost and Day all spoke out Monday and Tuesday against rushing to end the season.
Day called informing OSU’s players on Tuesday of the Big Ten presidents’ vote “one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had.”
“You don’t just wake up the next morning and everything is fine. Not when you’ve invested so much time and effort. It’s devastating.
“I’ll get emotional if I start to think about it. As a player you work your whole life and as a coach you work your whole life for an opportunity to coach a team like this. This team is special. It’s special because it’s talented. It’s special because of leadership, it’s special because of character. It could have been a once in a lifetime team.
“I gave myself last night to throw a pity party and then woke up this morning and got back to work,” he said.
“President (Kristina) Johnson, Gene and I all felt the same way. We were aligned on this thing and felt strongly about playing or at least delaying the start of the season until September. But in the end the presidents all collectively voted that the safety and welfare of the student-athletes took priority and they didn’t feel comfortable having a season.”