Ohio State HC Ryan Day Excited About ‘Possibility Of Playing Two Seasons In One Year’

By August 13, 2020 (1:30 pm)Football, Joe Dempsey
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Following the Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports, the next question is what is next for college football?

For Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, the answer is getting back on the field as soon as possible. Day has switched his focus to helping ensure a spring season, in which he would like to feature some of the members of the Buckeyes’ No. 1 recruiting class.

On an Aug. 12 teleconference, Day said he thinks the early enrollees who will come to Columbus in January should be allowed to play in both a spring and fall season and have it only count for one year of eligibility.  

“They get two seasons in one calendar year,” Day said. “I think the recruits would be really excited about it.”

Day and the Buckeyes have a slew of talented commits who plan on enrolling early, including Jack Sawyer, TreVeyon Henderson, Kyle McCord, Jayden Ballard, Reid Carrico, Evan Pryor, Marvin Harrison Jr., Denzel Burke, Jantzen Dunn, Sam Hart and Jesse Mirco, with Mike Hall and Ben Christman contemplating it. 

With his recruiting class atop the nation, Day wants to see those plays in action as soon as possible. He said the opportunity to play games right away is exciting for the incoming freshmen, especially since he thinks it should not count against their eligibility. 

“There’s some excitement about the possibility of playing two seasons in one year,” Day said. “I think that’s a really exciting thing for them to consider, and I’m going to fight really, really hard so that if I’m a mid-year guy coming in, if we have the opportunity to play in January and then also in the fall, that it will only count for one year of eligibility because it’s only in one calendar year. I think that’s really exciting for them and is a possibility that really interests them.”

After seeing what Day had to say on the topic, Henderson voiced his interest on Twitter. 

Adding double-digit scholarship players to a full roster represents a major issue with the 85-person scholarship limit for football. Given the circumstances, Day proposed the idea of granting programs a waiver for incoming freshmen that would push them over the scholarship cap. 

“We would have to get a waiver for that, and then I assume the guys that are in their last year of eligibility would be the ones that you would count into your count and then anybody else who was declaring after the season (would be removed from the scholarship total),” Day said. “I think that’s how you would have to do it, but certainly we would be over the 85.”

When he was directly asked about if the early enrollees for 2021 would have to reclassify to the 2020 class to be eligible to play, Day argued against the NCAA requiring reclassification.

“I don’t think that would make sense,” Day said. “In this environment, with everything that these kids have been through, to do that to them would not be right for them. That wouldn’t make sense for their calendar in school, academically. That doesn’t make sense at all. 

“To me, they should be allowed to play in the spring and then in the fall, and that should be their freshman year. One year of eligibility. It’s one calendar year. I don’t know how you can use two years [of eligibility] in one calendar year. That wouldn’t make any sense to me. Secondly, it would disrupt their academic calendar as well, so I’ll pound the table really strongly that that should happen like that.”

If early enrollees are allowed to play in a spring season, the Buckeyes would welcome a handful of highly touted prospects who would have a legitimate shot at playing pivotal roles. 

Sawyer, who is the third-ranked recruit in 2021, represents Ohio State’s top commit, while Henderson and McCord are elite prospects at critical positions. 

Henderson is the No. 1 running back in the country and No. 15 overall prospect, and his presence would push Trey Sermon, Master Teague and the other Buckeye backs for reps. 

In response to a college fantasy football writer theorizing about having Henderson on his team for a potential spring 2021 season, the talented tailback wrote, “I’ll be ready if that happens.”

Beyond Sawyer and Henderson, the arrival of McCord for a spring season could signal a three-man competition for the starting quarterback job between him, C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller if Justin Fields declares for the NFL draft. McCord is the nation’s No. 3 quarterback and No. 21 overall prospect and would be expected to compete for the job immediately. 

Much uncertainty accompanies a prospective spring season, but if it happens and features early enrollees, Ohio State can benefit from its No. 1 recruiting class ahead of schedule.

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