In response to Big Ten United, Ohio State players say school is 'what college athletics should look like'

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Ohio State athletes released a statement Friday expressing their satisfaction and level of comfort with the way the university has handled their safety and well-being.

The Buckeyes athletes wrote the letter in response to the Big Ten United group. That group, which represents more than 1,000 conference athletes, put out a statement asking for more stringent safety and prevention protocols for COVID-19, more oversight and transparency with the guidelines and testing, and player assurances and medical and scholarship protection.

The response from the Ohio State athletes said they appreciate the Big Ten United group's intentions to protect players and voice concerns, but that it does not represent the efforts and actions at their school.

"We believe our institution is providing the proper structure and organization for safety," the letter said. "Here at Ohio State, we #SetTheStandard for what college athletics should look like amid COVID-19."

The Buckeyes' captains echoed those feelings on a conference call earlier in the week, with offensive lineman Wyatt Davis saying the university has been doing its part and the athletic department has done a great job of monitoring the players and creating a safe work environment.

On the same conference call, quarterback Justin Fields echoed what Davis said about his comfort level but did express some concerns, saying they are out of the athletic department's control.

"I don't really have a concern about what's going on here at Ohio State, necessarily," Fields said. "My only concerns that pop up in my head are what are they doing at other schools and should there be a base procedure that schools have to go through. I think one of the biggest concerns that are going around the team is what happens when all the students come back to campus? Students aren't really worried about a season. They're doing what they usually do if this pandemic wasn't going on."

The letter released by the Ohio State athletes says the university and athletics department have followed the proper guidelines, and they want their standards to be followed by every other Big Ten institution.

The group commends athletic director Gene Smith, head physician Dr. James Borchers and the coaches and staff, saying they have the athletes' full trust. The athletes said they understand the inherent risk of playing during the pandemic but added that they are comfortable with playing a season as the situation stands.