Ohio State Cancels Game At Illinois Due To COVID-19 Spike
Updated, 10:37 p.m. Friday, November 27
Ohio State's football game with Illinois slated for Saturday has been canceled due to a COVID-19 spike among the Buckeyes, including coach Ryan Day. Ohio State announced it was canceling the game on Friday night a little more than 13 hours before kickoff.
The game was canceled after an additional round of coronavirus testing was performed among Buckeye players and coaches on Friday afternoon. Earlier in the day, the school announced Day had tested positive after taking a test that morning.
Ohio State did not reveal how many members of the program had tested positive which has been the school’s policy all year.
The team did not fly to Illinois as scheduled Friday night so additional COVID-19 testing could be conducted in Columbus.
Ohio State announced in a statement that it is pausing all football team-related activities.
“We have continued to experience an increase in positive tests over the course of this week,” Ohio State Director of Athletics Gene Smith said in a statement. “The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes is our main concern, and our decisions on their welfare will continue to be guided by our medical staff.”
The program will resume its team activities when its medical staff determines it is safe to do so based on protocols established by the Big Ten Conference. Any player who has tested positive for the coronavirus cannot compete for 21 days.
Ohio State has its game canceled two weeks ago after Maryland experienced cases on it's football team. The Buckeyes' next game on the schedule is slated for December 5 at Michigan State, followed by the regular-season finale against Michigan on December 12.
The Buckeyes have to complete the remaining games to be eligible to play in the Big Ten Championship game on December 19.
The Buckeyes were fourth in the first College Football Playoff rankings released earlier this week.
Ohio State football coach Ryan Day has tested positive for COVID-19 and won't be with the Buckeyes when they play at Illinois on Saturday.
Ohio State said it had an increased number of positive COVID-19 tests in the program this week, but the game against the Illini was still on.
Buckeyes veteran defensive line coach Larry Johnson will act as interim coach with Day unavailable.
Ohio State on Friday also delayed releasing a list of players who would be unavailable for its upcoming game. The university will release the list on Saturday instead.
The Buckeyes are undefeated at 4-0 and were ranked fourth in the first College Football Playoff rankings released this week.
Ohio State has already missed one game due to COVID-19 cases within Maryland's football team. They can only miss one more game and still be eligible for Big Ten Championship game to be played on December 18. The team has threee regular season games remaining.