Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said he’s exploring ways to get his team on the field as soon as possible, including via a spring season that begins in early January.
Day, speaking one day after the Big Ten postponed the fall football season, said the planning process for a spring season must begin now. He said he believes the Big Ten could begin play in early January, schedule eight or nine games, entertain possible postseason play, and wrap it all up before the NFL draft.
“It’s got to be weeks. It can’t be months. We’ve got to start it as soon as we can,” Day said.
Day also wants current NFL prospects, like Buckeye quarterback Justin Fields, to play the spring season. He also wants incoming recruits who enroll midyear to be eligible for the spring 2021 season.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of back-and-forth here, but … starting the first week of January would be the best week to go, an eight-week season. That way there is some separation between that season and the next season,” Day said. “We get some midyear guys to come in and possibly play a two-for-one, they’d get two seasons in in one calendar year, which I think the recruits would be really excited about. That’s the focus right now.”
Day also said he spoke to OSU athletic director Gene Smith earlier Wednesday about any possibilities of playing this fall.
“We are looking at everything, I promise you that.”
Smith, however, said OSU is no longer looking at options that include fall competition.
“It wasn’t realistic,” Smith told ESPN. “We just embraced the spring. That’s what we’re doing.
“There’s not a fall option,” he added. “We’re all about the spring and how do we set that up.”
Ohio State was 13-1 in 2019, and won a third straight Big Ten championship, becoming the first program in conference history to do so outright. Day, entering his second season as the OSU head coach, tied the record for most wins for a first-year FBS head coach last season.
Day, who also subbed in for head coach Urban Meyer for three games in 2018 and is 16-1 overall in Columbus, said the forfeiture of the 2020 season hit him hard.
“You work your whole life for an opportunity to coach a team like this,” he said. “This team is special.
“It could have been a once-in-a-lifetime team.”