BLOOMINGTON – In his final day as Indiana athletic director, Fred Glass sent an email to IU student-athletes and staff, reaffirming summer workouts are strictly voluntary and pledge forms signed by student-athletes are not a release of a waiver of liability.
IU has had athletes sign a COVID Participant Expectations and Commitment Pledge setting forth expectations of students, coaches and staff to promote health and safety as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. Those include common sense practices such as wearing masks in public, social distancing and washing your hands, while also reporting exposure to and symptoms of COVID-19 and agreeing to self-isolate and participate in contact tracing if you are determined to be positive for COVID-19
“The Pledge was written by doctors, not lawyers,” Glass wrote. “There is no language in the Pledge that in any way waives any of your rights or releases any liability by IU Athletics. It is not, and will never be utilized as, a release or waiver of liability.”
Pledge forms signed by student-athletes at Ohio State and Tennessee have come under scrutiny as to whether they constitute risk waivers that would shield the schools from liability should a student-athlete become seriously ill – or in the worst case scenario die – due to the virus.
Glass also wrote in the email any student-athlete at IU who decides not to participate this season due to health or safety concerns will have his scholarship honored.
“This is your decision based on medical considerations,” Glass wrote.
Indiana completed its first phase of COVID-19 testing last week, with no positive tests reported in 187 tests of student-athletes. IU’s first and second wave of football players have returned to campus for voluntary workouts this month, along with men’s and women’s basketball players. Other IU student-athletes are returning this summer under the following timeline -- women’s soccer (July 6), volleyball (July 8), men’s soccer (July 13), field hockey (July 15) and cross country (August 18).
Glass concluded the email by saying while IU is planning to go ahead with fall sports as scheduled, the ultimate decision will come down to IU’s Medical Advisory Group, comprised of chief medical officer Dr. Andy Hipskind, team physician Dr. Larry Rink and infectious disease specialist Dr. Tom Hrisomalos.
“If the Medical Advisory Group advises that we suspend athletics this season in whole or in part, we will immediately do so,” Glass wrote.
Glass, 61, is stepping down after more than 11 years as IU’s AD, a tenure that started Oct. 28, 2008. New IU athletic director Scott Dolson, promoted from Deputy AD last March, takes over Wednesday.
Glass was awarded with the IU President Medal of Excellence on Monday for his contributions to the athletic department from school president Michael A. McRobbie.
“He has worked tirelessly to return his alma mater to its rightful place as one of the premier athletic departments in the country,” McRobbie said. “He has elevated compliance to the highest level of priority, has continually underscored the importance of academics and has been an outstandingly successful fundraiser.”