Ohio State’s remaining spring football practices will be suspended until April 6 and "possibly longer" amid the coronavirus pandemic, the school said Friday.


The announcement came hours after the Big Ten announced a leaguewide suspension of organized team activities in all sports over the next three weeks.


In a statement, the conference said it would reevaluate whether to lift or continue the suspension on April 6.


"The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic," read the conference’s statement.


The Buckeyes opened spring football practice on March 2 and held three workouts before they were off for the university’s spring break this week.


Spring practices had been scheduled to resume Tuesday and continue with 12 more workouts through April 11, the date of the spring game, which had been canceled earlier this week.


Speaking with reporters on a teleconference, athletic director Gene Smith said he favored canceling the remaining spring practices, though Ohio State would follow the directive by the Big Ten to have members postpone them.


"Somewhere down the line we’ll have to make the decision whether there will be no more organized team activities or there will be," Smith said. "We’ll just see how that goes."


Winter and spring sports season had already been canceled across the Big Ten.


On Friday, Ohio State said it will further close its athletic facilities and has instructed players to clear out their lockers by 5 p.m. on Monday.


The step does not allow players to use the facilities for individual or small group workouts, though Smith said they were permitted to meet together in small groups elsewhere.


It was up to them.


"We just can't organize it," Smith said. "And we won't be organizing it and hosting it in our facilities. They'll probably end up doing that, knowing them."


The Woody Hayes Athletic Center houses the football team’s practice field, weight room, rehabilitation center, team dining hall and other facilities.


The Big Ten did not require schools to vacate their athletic facilities, but Smith said it was a needed step after Ohio State directed students to move out of their campus residence halls.


Smith referred to it as a parallel decision made by the athletic department.


"We needed to send a message that the institution wants us to go home," he said.


Ohio State is holding online-only classes for the rest of the semester rather than gather in large groups on campus.


For the time being, the athletic department said its athletes will work with the athletic training staff members on rehabilitation and treatment at other locations.


Ohio State’s pro-day workout, arranged for NFL draft-eligible prospects and held at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, was also on Friday suspended "until further notice."


jkaufman@dispatch.com


@joeyrkaufman