Ohio State-Illinois canceled after more COVID positive tests for OSU originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Hours after announcing that head football coach Ryan Day had tested positive for the coronavirus, Ohio State has canceled this Saturday’s game against Illinois due to further positive tests within the program.
“We have continued to experience an increase in positive tests over the course of this week,” OSU Director of Athletics Gene Smith said in a statement. “The health, safety and well-being of our student-athlete is our main concern, and our decisions on their welfare will continue to be guided by our medical staff.”
The decisions to cancel Saturday’s contest and pause all team activities were made by Smith, university president Kristina M. Johnson and head team physician Dr. Jim Borchers. It will mark the second game Ohio State has lost to COVID-19 this season after their Nov. 14 contest against Maryland was called off after the Terps experienced an outbreak in their locker room.
By canceling the game, Ohio State has put itself in a delicate position for qualifying to play in the Big Ten championship game. The conference stipulated at the start of the season that teams must play at least six games in order to qualify for the title game. Ohio State is 4-0 and only has two games left: Dec. 5 at Michigan State and Dec. 12 vs. Michigan.
If one of those games were to be canceled, the only way Ohio State would still be eligible to play in the Big Ten championship game is if the rest of the conference had enough games called off where the average number of games played between them is fewer than six. Though winning a conference title isn’t required for making the College Football Playoff, it is an important tiebreaker used by the selection committee to determine which four teams make the cut.
The College Football Playoff doesn’t have a minimum threshold required in order to qualify for the postseason tournament.