Ohio State vs. Illinois Football Game Canceled After Positive COVID-19 Tests

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 28, 2020

Ohio State coach Ryan Day watches during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Rutgers on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won 49-27. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

Ohio State's football game at Illinois has been canceled after an increased number of COVID-19 cases within the Buckeye program following additional testing on Friday afternoon, per a team statement (h/t Bryan Fischer of Athlon Sports).

The game, which was scheduled for noon ET on Saturday at Illinois, will be declared a no-contest.

OSU announced earlier Friday that head coach Ryan Day tested positive for COVID-19. That positive test was in addition to "an increased number of positive tests this week for the coronavirus" within the program.

The school also stated that "all team members along with Tier I coaches and support staff will undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing this afternoon."

The results of that testing have forced OSU to cancel the game.

"Further positive tests for the coronavirus were discovered after a round of PCR testing this afternoon," OSU's most recent statement said. "The Department of Athletics has paused all team-related football activities."

The 4-0 Buckeyes, who are ranked fourth in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, will be ineligible for the Big Ten Championship Game if one of its final two games (against Michigan State and Michigan) are canceled, per Kyle Rowland of the Toledo Blade.

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However, the College Football Playoff committee could still choose OSU for its four-team postseason field even if the Buckeyes don't qualify to play in the Big Ten title game, per Brett McMurphy of Stadium.

The Big Ten has stated that a team must play at least six conference games to qualify.

As Dan Hope of Eleven Warriors noted, OSU has now had two games canceled because of COVID-19 outbreaks. The first one, which was scheduled for Nov. 14 against Maryland, was called off following positive tests within the Terrapins' program.

In addition, Hope clarified that OSU has not confirmed the identities (or amount) of players who have tested positive.

However, those players are now ineligible to suit up for the rest of the regular season because of the Big Ten's policy that forbids players from taking the field for 21 days following a confirmed positive COVID-19 test.

OSU is currently scheduled to visit Michigan State on Saturday, Dec. 5 and host Michigan on Sat., Dec. 12. The Big Ten Championship Game is slated for Sat., Dec. 19.

For now, the program's football team activities have been paused. Per the release, "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."

The Buckeyes opened this season with wins in all four games, averaging 45.25 points in victories over Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers and Indiana.