The Buckeyes were originally scheduled to fly to Illinois on Friday evening and then be demoed before taking off at 11 a.m. Central Time on an 8 a.m. flight on Saturday until the results of additional testing are available on Friday. Now the program stops.
“We’ve seen more and more positive tests over the course of this week,” Ohio state sports director Gene Smith said in a statement. “The health, safety and well-being of our student athletes are our primary concerns and our decisions about their well-being continue to be guided by our medical staff.”
All football activities have been suspended, a move the university claims to have taken in consultation with the Big Ten by Smith, Ohio State University president Kristina M. Johnson, and the football team’s chief medical officer James Borchers.
“We are certainly disappointed that tomorrow’s game against Ohio State was canceled,” said Illinois coach Lovie Smith in a statement. “… We hope that the Ohio State players and staff who contracted the COVID virus will recover quickly so they can continue their season.”
After a shortened schedule of eight games, the Big Ten had to play at least six games to compete for a conference championship. In this scenario, another abandoned game means the Buckeyes will be excluded from the Big Ten title fight. Her game in Maryland two weeks ago was canceled following a coronavirus outbreak on the Terrapins’ program. Wisconsin was also banned from competing for the conference championship after Saturday’s matchup against Minnesota was canceled due to positive coronavirus tests at the Golden Gophers.
Before the results of the additional tests came in on Friday, the Ohio State Sports Department confirmed “an increased number of positive tests this week,” but said the number had not reached the Big Ten threshold required to cancel a game. According to the earlier release on Friday, the program has seen a positivity rate of nearly 0 percent since August 11th.
“I spoke to Coach Day and he is physically fine,” Gene Smith said in a statement following Day’s positive test. “I feel terrible for Coach and for the members of the program who have been diagnosed with positive tests. Coach Day and this team have really been leaders in dealing with things during this pandemic. “
The deeper the college football schedule has gotten into the fall, the more coronavirus cases hit it. More than 40 games have been postponed or canceled in the past three weeks due to the virus.
In addition to the flexibility of the schedule in this unique year, the coronavirus has also encouraged thinking outside the box. Vanderbilt has added women’s soccer goalkeeper Sarah Fuller to their roster in time to start the game in Missouri on Saturday. Just days after leading the Commodores’ women’s soccer program to the SEC tournament championship, Fuller became the first woman to participate in a Power Conference soccer game.