Last week, Ohio State football players returned to team facilities for their first workouts amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
But according to Joey Kaufman of The Columbus Dispatch, before doing so, players were required to sign a waiver acknowledging the risks of their return and committing to following proper health protocols.
Titled the "Buckeye Pledge," the waiver signed by players highlights the health risks involved with their workouts and calls for the athletes to follow strict school-implemented safety measures. It also proceeds to warn players that despite the measures the school has taken, it can never fully shield itself from the potential spread and risks of COVID-19.
Every player returning to campus was also required to undergo a coronavirus test, although unlike some schools, Ohio State is not releasing the results of its tests. Any player who had not turned 18 yet needed to have a parent or legal guardian sign the waiver.
"We don’t look at that as a legal document," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told ESPN. "It’s a Buckeye pledge. Allow us to help you so that if we face a situation, our trainers, our strength coaches, our coaches or any athletic administrator sees a student-athlete not wearing a mask or not social distancing, we can say, 'Hey, you made a commitment. You signed a pledge. Your parents signed a pledge. Your parents are a part of this.'"
According to The Dispatch, any player who doesn't adhere to the guidelines set forth to the pledge could be prohibited from participating in athletic activities or using on-campus facilities, although it would not affect that player's scholarship status. After Ohio State football players were permitted to return to campus last Monday, the Buckeyes' men’s and women’s basketball players are able to resume on-campus workouts this week.