Ryan Day and Ohio State dared COVID, then they got it

Ohio State Coach Ryan Day in less COVID-y times.
Ohio State Coach Ryan Day in less COVID-y times.
Image: Getty Images

In James 4:2 it says, “You have not, because you ask not.” That verse has come to pass in Columbus, Ohio.

Advertisement

A few months ago, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day called out the Big Ten. He was pissed that there wasn’t going to be a football season.

Damn a global pandemic that has killed millions. Day wanted to coach a team full of Black unpaid teenagers, even though it’s been proven that Black Americans contract the virus and die from it at a higher rate than anyone else in this country.

“While I understand the Big Ten Conference’s decision to postpone the football season because of health and safety considerations, the communication of information from the Big Ten following the decision has been disappointing and often unclear,” Day said in September.

“However, we still have an opportunity to give our young men what they have worked so hard for: a chance to safely compete for a national championship this fall.”

As you probably know by now, Day has COVID-19. It led to the Buckeyes having Saturday’s game against Illinois canceled. That “chance to safely compete for a national championship this fall,” that Day wanted so badly, is hanging on by a thread. If Ohio State has another game canceled it won’t have the six games needed to be eligible for the College Football Playoffs.

And with an undefeated record, it’s quite ironic that the virus that Ohio State thought they could be immune from might wind up keeping it from its heart’s greatest desire.

Advertisement

“I see everything that has been done behind the scenes here and how much they care about it,” OSU quarterback Justin Fields said back in August. At the time, he was one of the faces of the #WeWantToPlay movement, as players felt there was a way for them to safely play this season.

Advertisement

“I also believe the coaches and all the past players want us to play,” Fields continued. “They believe in the guidelines Ohio State has set. To me, that is the biggest message.”

“I talked to (Clemson quarterback) Trevor Lawrence not too long ago about this movement. It was a movement we wanted to get behind.”

Advertisement

Lawrence returned to the field on Saturday after missing two games due to COVID.

Advertisement

This just stuff writes itself sometimes because we should have seen this coming. Back in June, which feels so long ago, Ohio State was doing everything it could to show the world that it was willing to risk it all just to play a game. The school asked parents and players to sign the “Buckeye Pledge,” which was a coronavirus risk waiver that purported to give the school protection from liability if anybody contracted it when they came back to campus for offseason workouts. All the players signed it. But it’s not like they had a choice, as a failure to comply with the pledge and rules could lead to a player losing out on “athletic participation privileges.”

Just a few months ago, the Big Ten was the only adult in a room full of children. They had decided that it wasn’t going to play football. And then it buckled. There was also too much money at stake, as the conference made at least $781.5 million off football last year.

Advertisement

I hope it was worth it. Here’s how things are going in the Big Ten.

Advertisement

The Buckeyes, the conference’s best shot at making it to the College Football Playoffs, are just a few more positive COVID tests from being ineligible.

Michigan is having one of its worst seasons in program history and just lost to Penn State on Saturday that came into the game winless.

Advertisement

Northwestern, the other Top 10 team in the conference, just lost its first game of the season to a pathetic Michigan State squad, derailing its dreams of making it to the playoffs.

Wisconsin had two quarterbacks with COVID within the first few weeks of the season.

Advertisement

Indiana looks like it could wind up being the conference’s best team due to Ohio State’s issues, and the Hoosiers are a basketball school.

And then there’s Nebraska sitting at 1-4. This is the part where I remind you that Nebraska tried to go rogue before the season started, and when it finally did, they tried to schedule Chattanooga as a replacement opponent before the Big Ten shut it down.

Advertisement

This is what the culture of football, as a whole, has come to in 2020.

Advertisement

For all of you that feel sorry for Ryan Day, Ohio State, and those in control at the Big Ten, I ask that you save your sympathy for the players, as the adults failed them.

A few months ago, the Big Ten dared to call out COVID-19 and the nerve to think they could defeat it. Right now, the Big Ten is being bludgeoned by it.

Advertisement

Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.

Saginaw Native. Morehouse Man. Syracuse (Newhouse) Alum. 2019 & 2020 NABJ Award Winner. 2016 PABJ Journalist of the Year. I only eat my wings lemon-peppered. And I like brown liquor & brown women.