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With the chances of the Big Ten Conference playing a football season slipping away, two of Ohio State’s best players have chosen to opt out and start preparing for the NFL draft.

 

Cornerback Shaun Wade, a preseason All-American and likely first-round pick in the 2021 draft, announced his decision Monday on Twitter, saying the Big Ten waited too long to decide what to do about playing. Wyatt Davis, an offensive guard who is another potential first-round pick, announced his decision on Friday.

 

All eyes will now be on quarterback Justin Fields, who could be one of the top picks in the 2021 draft regardless of whether he plays another down of football for the Buckeyes. Fields hasn’t publicly commented recently about his situation.

 

Time is slipping away for players choosing to remain with idle Big Ten and Pac-12 teams, who now must watch teams from other conferences — including the SEC and ACC — that decided to go ahead with their seasons.

 

The Big Ten postponed its entire fall sports season on Aug. 11 because of COVID-19 concerns and how football could be played safely. The emergence of daily rapid-response COVID-19 testing, not available when university leaders decided to pull the plug on the season, now looms large.

 

If the presidents vote to start by late October, an eight-game season and conference championship game in mid-December is still possible. That schedule could set up Big Ten teams to be part of the College Football Playoff.

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