COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory for Ohio State football players

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State coach Ryan Day gathers his team around him before the Big Ten football championship game against Northwestern.

The Ohio State football team will not require its players to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when all adult residents in Ohio become eligible on March 29.

But coach Ryan Day said Wednesday that staff will assist them in setting up appointments and he welcomed the expanded vaccine eligibility.

“This really is a huge step for us moving forward,” Day said. “We’re really fired up. And we’re going to have a great plan. It’s all just happening kind of fast, but I know our medical people are working on it. I’m getting a bunch of texts about how we’re going to get this organized.”

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, outbreaks have led to disruptions in the team’s schedule, including prompting three regular-season games to be canceled last fall.

As recently as last week, the Buckeyes paused strength and conditioning workouts after an increase in positive COVID-19 tests.

Organized team activities resumed three days later, and spring practice is to open on Friday.

Asked if he expected most players to sign up for a vaccine, Day wasn’t certain, but thought it likely.

“I haven’t polled the guys yet because it’s all happened in the last day or so,” Day said, “but we’ll get a better idea in the next week. I would assume that most guys would want to take it, but maybe not. It’s kind of up to them, and we’ll leave it up to them and their families whatever decision they make.”

A majority of adult Americans intend to be vaccinated. A Pew Research Center poll published two weeks ago found 69% plan to receive a vaccine or have gotten one.

The program is likely to begin some vaccine education in the following weeks.

The Schottenstein Center, which is adjacent to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, has been used as a mass vaccination site.

Day, who turned 42 last week, said he is scheduled for a vaccine on Friday, the first day the state expands eligibility to residents 40 years or older.