COLUMBUS — Josh Myers isn’t picky about the details as long as Ohio State can play football again soon.
The Buckeyes center doesn’t deny that he has some fear about the coronavirus, though his concern is primarily about spreading it to his family instead of dealing with the illness personally. Myers also obviously doesn’t want anybody taking a reckless, careless approach when it’s finally time to nail down the return-to-play details as optimism continues to slowly rise that there will be a season this year.
But he’s going to defer to the medical experts about what kind of testing is needed to get into the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. He’s not worried about how many fans are in the Horseshoe for games. And Myers is certainly not opposed to taking part in a team quarantine if it means he gets to play the game he loves.
“For me, yes, absolutely — I would do anything really to play this season,” Myers said. “I don’t know what I would do without football, to be honest with you. But with that would come sacrifices, and I personally am willing to make those sacrifices. That would be doing whatever I need to do to quarantine, to make sure that I’m not going to make anybody else sick if I were to get [the virus]. And in order to do it, I think it would have to be done in a very orderly way just to make sure that other people aren’t getting sick because of what we’re doing.
“But I would do it, yes, absolutely. I would sign any waiver or anything to say that I’m willing to play. I would quarantine myself or do whatever it takes.”
There is still no clarity on what exactly would be required to get the Buckeyes and programs around the country back on campus, back in weight rooms and eventually back into stadiums by September. At this point, there’s also no rush to make a final decision as there’s roughly a month or so of information that can continue to be absorbed before a deadline starts to materialize for college football.
But respected Ohio State leaders like Myers and guard Wyatt Davis both made it clear this week as the first players made available to the media since the shutdown started that numerous options have already been presented behind closed doors. And the Buckeyes are open to everything they’ve heard so far as tentative plans to welcome the roster back begin to take shape.
“This is something that our coaches have even talked about as far as taking these next couple steps to get things back going,” Davis said. “Definitely temperature checks before you walk into the building. Having a mask. If we’re still able to do some workouts before the season, having monitored groups and not having a bunch of guys going at a time. I know that’s what Coach [Ryan] Day has been saying, but I’m not a doctor and don’t truly know what would go into making sure guys are fine besides testing.
“I definitely would do anything to have this season, whether that would mean self-quarantine and making sure that everybody is good with everything. With the fan aspect, would it suck not having fans there? Yes. But would that affect me not playing the season? No. I just love the game of football and I miss being in that competitive-type of atmosphere. Fans or no fans, I would want to play.”
Settling on attendance measures is probably one of the last items on the to-do list right now for the decision-makers. Obviously it’s one of the most critical for athletic departments financially, but the first priority has to be ensuring that the players are safe while figuring out both when and how they can start preparing for the scheduled start of the season.
Ohio State has consistently indicated it would prefer a six-week model of workouts and practices to get the roster ready for the demands of such a physical game. But that will all be contingent on decisions about group gatherings from local government officials, the availability of testing and tracing equipment — and guidance from the Big Ten and NCAA for dozens of other factors when it comes to health and a level playing field.
Myers didn’t push for anything specific in his ideal return-to-play plan, instead deferring to the experts. But whatever they decide is best to accomplish that goal of getting him on the field, he’s up for it.
“The last couple months have been hard, as I’m sure it has been for everybody else,” Myers said. “I think I speak for everybody on our team when I say that we trust our coaches, we trust our medical staff.
“We know that they’re going to try to do right by us and keep us safe while also getting work in that we need to get in.”