UPDATE: Saturday’s Ohio State football game cancelled due to COVID cases on team

UPDATE: Saturday’s Ohio State football game cancelled due to COVID cases on team
(Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS — UPDATE @ 10:30 PM:

Saturday’s Ohio State football game against Illinois has been cancelled, according to the Ohio State Athletic Office.

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The Department of Athletics has paused all team-related football activites.

“We have continued to experience an increase in positive tests over the course of this week,” Director of Athletics Gene Smith said. “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.”

If Ohio State cannot play in their upcoming games against Michigan or Michigan State, the team will not be eligible to play in the Big Ten Championship game.

INITIAL REPORT:

The Ohio State head football coach Ryan Day has tested positive for COVID-19, according to our news partner 10TV.

A program spokesperson told 10TV will not travel with the team to Illinois for Saturday’s game.

Assistant head coach Larry Johnson will serve as the head coach.

Here is the full statement from Ohio State:

The Ohio State University football team continues to prepare for its game Saturday against the University of Illinois, set for 12 p.m. (EST) in Champaign, Ill.

The program completed another round of point of contact (POC) daily testing Friday morning. All team members along with Tier I coaches and support staff will undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing this afternoon out of an abundance of caution to ensure that everyone on the trip is confirmed negative for the coronavirus.

At this time the Department of Athletics can confirm an increased number of positive tests this week for the coronavirus. This is in contrast to testing throughout the season, when Ohio State had consistently recorded nearly 0% positivity since Aug. 11. The increased number does not reach the threshold for Ohio State to have to cancel the game this week, according to Big Ten Conference protocols.

Head coach Ryan Day is one of the individuals who has tested positive. He is in isolation and will not travel to Illinois or coach the team this week. Assistant head coach/defensive line coach Larry Johnson will serve as interim head coach of the Buckeyes on Saturday.

Because of the additional PCR testing taking place today, the team will not fly to Champaign this evening, but will instead fly to the game Saturday morning. The department has kept the University of Illinois and the Big Ten Conference aware of the developments.

“I have spoken with Coach Day, and he is doing well physically,” Director of Athletics Gene Smith said. “I feel terrible for Coach and for the members of the program who have been diagnosed with a positive test. Coach Day and this team have been true leaders in handling things so well throughout this pandemic. Our team wants to play this game, and we’re going to do everything we can to help make this happen. All of the decisions on the welfare of our student-athletes and staff members will continue to be guided by our medical staff.”