Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith stands on the field prior to the Buckeyes’ season-opening 49-21 win over Indiana on Aug. 31, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Former Sports Editor

Ohio State student-athlete academic and psychological support services will remain active amid university COVID-19 restrictions, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a teleconference Friday. 

The Big Ten Conference announced Friday that all team activities are suspended until reevaluation April 6. In addition, the Ohio State athletic department will close all athletic facilities to student-athletes.

Ohio State announced Thursday that instruction will move online starting March 23 and students will be required to move out of university housing by March 22, according to an email to students and faculty.

While students transition to off-campus distance learning, Smith said that the structure of support services for student athletes will stay the same, however, motivational techniques could change.

“Our Student Athlete Support Services Organization has been working with the Office of Academic Affairs and we’re taking advantage of the technology,” Smith said. “Still, each sport has an academic adviser, and they’re aware of every student athlete’s situation.”

As with SASSO, Smith said that the department has emphasized to coaches that counseling and mental health services will remain open for students. 

“We haven’t shut down our sports psych operation,” Smith said. “They’re still in their offices and available to our student athletes if they want to have those sessions.” 

Smith said he is in support of extra eligibility for spring sport athletes due to the cancellation of seasons for the remainder of the academic year. The NCAA announced Friday that it is exploring eligibility relief options for student-athletes participating in spring sports.