Ohio State’s game against Illinois has been canceled after Buckeyes coach Ryan Day tested positive for coronavirus and additional positives were found after a round of PCR tests Friday afternoon, the school announced.
The Buckeyes originally were going to play the game, scheduled for Saturday at noon in Champaign, Ill., without Day, but Ohio State announced it was pausing all team-related football activities in light of the new information. The decision was made by Ohio State school officials and their medical team, in conjunction with the Big Ten conference.
“We have continued to experience an increase in positive tests over the course of this week,” athletic director 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.”
Day’s positive test added him to a group of high-profile college football coaches who have tested positive for COVID-19 — including Nick Saban (who has mild symptoms and won’t be coaching Alabama against Auburn in Saturday’s Iron Bowl), Les Miles, Dan Mullen, Mike Norvell and Kevin Sumlin. Smith said in a statement early Friday that he had spoken to the 41-year-old Day and he was “doing well physically.”
“I feel terrible for Coach and for the members of the program who have been diagnosed with a positive test,” Smith said. “Coach Day and this team have been true leaders in handling things so well throughout this pandemic.”
The Buckeyes, coming off a 42-35 win over Indiana, are all alone atop the Big Ten East Division. They are the heavy favorite to win the conference and return to the College Football Playoff for the second straight season.