Ohio State Football Cancellations and Postponements Are Rare, Reserved For National Tragedies and Emergencies

By Kevin Harrish on November 11, 2020 at 4:57 pm
Postponements and cancellations rarely happen.

Cancellations are few and far between for the Buckeyes.

The cancellation of Saturday's game against Maryland is a rarity in Ohio State football history, marking the first time since 1918 that a game has been outright canceled during the season and just the third time in 60 years a game's date has been altered midseason.

The last time the Buckeyes were unable to play a game as scheduled during the season, it was due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Ohio State and San Diego State agreed to postpone their Sept. 15, 2001 matchup to Oct. 20, as both teams had that date open on their schedules.

The Buckeyes' only other postponed game in the last 60 years was due to another national tragedy: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Ohio State was scheduled to cap its season on the road against Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 23, 1963, the day after Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, but the game was pushed back a week to Nov. 30.

Both those contests were postponed and eventually made up, but it's been over 100 years since Ohio State's had a game outright canceled midseason, and it last happened under quite similar circumstances – the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak.

Ohio State initially played through the flu, beating Denison 34-0 on Oct. 12, 1918, despite a campus shutdown, a ban on large gatherings and flu cases on both teams. That game went on as scheduled, as permitted by Ohio State's student physician at the time, but the rest of the season was altered, beginning with the Buckeyes' Oct. 19 game against Northwestern.

Ohio State's conference matchup with Northwestern was canceled and not rescheduled. The remainder of the Buckeyes' schedule also saw a bit of an overhaul, with Ohio State's matchup with Michigan moved from Oct. 26 to Nov. 30.

Of course, the matchup with Maryland is not the only game the Buckeyes have seen canceled this year with games against Bowling Green, Oregon, Buffalo and Iowa all canceled before the season started. But Saturday's game is a rare midseason modification to the schedule, and the first midseason cancelation Ohio State has seen in a long time.

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