Former Buckeyes share reaction to Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports


TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – Some former Ohio State University football players say they’re disappointed but not surprised by the Big Ten’s decision to postpone its fall sports season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two former Buckeyes told 2 NEWS they support the conference’s decision, even though they acknowledge how it will affect the student-athletes.

“I feel sorry for the seniors and then I feel sorry for the team,” said Michael McCray, a former captain for Ohio State’s football team. “I know they wanted to defend their Big Ten championship.”

As Trotwood-Madison High School’s principal, McCray is all too familiar with the tough decisions surrounding sports – recently choosing to suspend fall athletics at his school.

“We know some of the statistics out just saying that younger people are not dying from it, but it could just be one,” McCray said. “And do you really want to be a part of that one?”

“It’s all about the safety of the players,” said Keith Byars, former Buckeye and NFL running back. “And the staff and the supporting staff. That’s the most important thing.”

Although the Big Ten is leaving the door open to a spring football season, Byars told 2 NEWS he does not see how that would be feasible.

“Now you’re asking the kids to play two seasons in a matter of months,” he said. “You got a spring season, then take a couple weeks off in the summer, and then the next thing you know it’s going to be August again, then you start the 2021 season? That’s asking an awful lot of our players.”

“As a fan, I’m disappointed, but this is a decision made by the Big Ten, this was made by the schools, and we have to respect that decision,” Gov. Mike DeWine said at a news conference Tuesday.

Both former Buckeyes who spoke with 2 NEWS encourage the athletes affected to stay positive.

“We’ve never been through anything like this ever in my lifetime, and control the things that you can control,” McCray said.

“They’re still going to get their education, and they’re still going to be successful in society,” Byars said.

Byars told 2 NEWS he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the planned NFL season.

As for fall youth sports, Gov. DeWine said he plans to make a decision on how those may proceed soon.

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