Report: Prominent Big Ten program had football players sign coronavirus waiver
After the coronavirus pandemic brought college sports activities to a screeching halt in March, student-athletes are back on campus at many programs for voluntary workouts.
Similar to programs in the SEC, Ohio State Buckeyes players were allowed to begin voluntary on June 8. Reporter Joey Kaufman of The Columbus Dispatch has uncovered an interesting tidbit: players signed a COVID-19 waiver.
Referred to as a so-called Buckeye Pledge, it asks players to “pledge to take responsibility for my own health and help stop the spread of the COVID-19.”
The document goes on to warn athletes that “although the university is following the coronavirus guidelines issued by the CDC and other experts to reduce the spread of infection, I can never be completely shielded from all risk of illness caused by COVID-19 or other infections.”
Incoming freshmen who had not turned 18 needed to have a parent or legal guardian sign the waiver.
Developments surrounding voluntary workouts are being closely followed as it is the first step toward the return of college football. Reports from multiple SEC programs indicate players on various campuses have tested positive. No SEC programs, however, have announced shutdowns of voluntary workouts, which was the case recently at Houston where 6 student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19 while showing symptoms of the coronavirus.
Prominent sports attorney Darren Heitner weighed in on the Ohio State waiver report, calling it smart for universities but warning it might not stand up to legal challenges.
Smart for universities to require athletes to sign COVID waivers. However the waivers may not withstand legal challenge.
Biggest issue = there’s no bargaining process. We aren’t talking about people who can freely negotiate terms of employment. What’s the alternative to signing? https://t.co/oUQ1wKM2hb
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) June 14, 2020