Ohio State's Justin Fields Says He Never Considered Opting out amid Pandemic

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2020

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields plays against Wisconsin during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields reaffirmed his commitment to the Buckeyes, telling reporters on Wednesday he hasn't considered opting out of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bucknuts' Dave Biddle shared Fields' comments on the matter: 

"I really feel like people have different situations in whether they should opt out or not. Some people's families might not be as financially stable as others. Plus, me growing up as a kid, I've always been a competitor and I've always loved to play football. Me just growing up with my family, I never really needed anything. My family has provided me with everything I've needed.

"So, getting to money as fast as I can isn't really a priority for me. Just playing with my teammates and grinding every day with [strength] coach Mick [Marotti] during workouts and working on plays and stuff like that, that's what I'm cherishing the most right now. So, I'm just working with them and really looking forward to the season. I'm just trying to stay as optimistic as possible right now. But as far as opting out, I mean, I can see where those guys are coming from, but I never thought about opting out."

The original hope was that the United States would flatten the curve and bring its confirmed cases of COVID-19 down ahead of the fall, thus allowing for the start of a full football season. The opposite has transpired, with the pandemic surging throughout the summer.

Numerous universities have confirmed positive tests among their athletes as some returned to campus for workouts.

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As a result, the fate of the 2020 season—at least staging football in the fall—looks to be far from a foregone conclusion.

Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley was the first notable player to opt out of the upcoming year.

Yahoo Sports' Eric Edholm reported Tuesday that Penn Star star linebacker Micah Parsons is opting out as well, while Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman confirmed his intention to follow Farley's lead:

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Parson and Bateman sixth and 17th, respectively, in his initial big board for the 2021 draft.

Losing Fields would obviously have been a huge blow for the Ohio State offense. The junior signal-caller seamlessly eased into the team in his first year, throwing for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns and three interceptions.

If Fields had decided to opt out, the Buckeyes would've had to turn to one of Kentucky graduate transfer Gunnar Hoak, C.J. Stroud or Jack Miller III.

Ohio State heads into 2020 with national championship ambitions having lost a nail-biter to Clemson in last season's College Football Playoff semifinals.

The team now knows its road to the playoff after the Big Ten released its conference-only schedule. The Buckeyes open against Illinois on Sept. 3.