COLUMBUS, Ohio – The college football game between No. 3 Ohio State University and the University of Illinois, which was scheduled for this Saturday (28), has been canceled.
The game, scheduled to play in Champaign, Illinois, was doubtful to go off in the lead up to the weekend, but Ohio State University finally made the call late Friday after further positive tests for the coronavirus were discovered.
Head football coach Ryan Day was among the people returning a positive test, it was reported on Friday. In fact, the game was called off about seven hours after Ohio State announced Day’s positive test.
Day was all set to give up the callings for the game, as he wouldn’t travel with the team, but further positive tests in the travelers camp apparently proved too risky to play the game.
Ohio State noted that the Department of Athletics has decided to paused all team-related football activities. The decision to cancel and pause was made jointly by Director of Athletics Gene Smith, University President Kristina M. Johnson, head team physician Dr. Jim Borchers and in consultation with the Big Ten Conference.
“We have continued to experience an increase in positive tests over the course of this week,” Smith said in a release from the school read.
“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.
Meanwhile, how will the cancelation of this game affect the Buckeyes’ push for a College Football Playoff place?
This is the second game Ohio State (4-0) has had canceled this season, following the non-action at Maryland on Nov. 14, also because of COVID-19 reasons.
It is believed that if Ohio State is to compete in the Big Ten championship game, the team has to play both of its remaining regular-season games, on Dec. 5 at Michigan State and Dec. 12 at home versus rival Michigan.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the minimum number of required games to play in the conference championship game, could be lowered if the average number of games played by all Big Ten teams falls below six (an average above 5.0 will be rounded up to six).
The College Football Playoff committee has not set a threshold for a minimum number of games a team has to play to qualify for a top four spot this year, but it is unlikely the Buckeyes can continue to hold on to their fourth spot and make the semifinals with just four regular season games this year.