Ohio State is dealing with an increase in COVID-19 cases within the program, potentially putting its game against Illinois in jeopardy.
Bucknuts' Dave Biddle reported Wednesday evening that the game could be in jeopardy after “several Ohio State players tested positive for COVID-19.” A source told Eleven Warriors that the team is dealing with a single-digit number of positive cases.
An Ohio State spokesperson told Eleven Warriors that he had “no news to share” regarding the status of Saturday's game, and that the Buckeyes were at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday evening. Ohio State was scheduled to practice on Wednesday afternoon, but a source indicated that the team held a walk-through rather a full practice due to the positive tests.
Ohio State's official team account was still tweeting on Wednesday night as if the game is still going to be played:
According to Kyle Rowland of the Toledo Blade, a decision on the Illinois game is expected to be made Thursday.
Per Big Ten policy, Ohio State would be forced to pause team activities for seven days if its test positivity rate went above 5% and its population positivity rate went above 7.5%, but as of Wednesday night, team activities were still ongoing.
Ohio State has not released any results from its football team COVID-19 testing, and does not confirm when players test positive for COVID-19, so it is unclear which players are affected. Per Big Ten policy, however, any player who does test positive cannot play for 21 days, meaning any Ohio State player who tested positive this week would miss each of the Buckeyes' remaining regular-season games against Illinois, Michigan State and Michigan.
Should the Illinois game remain scheduled for Saturday, Ohio State will release a status report on Friday morning, though the status report does not indicate whether players are unavailable due to injury, COVID-19 or other reasons.
If Ohio State doesn't play Illinois on Saturday, it would be down to just six scheduled regular-season games, the minimum number of games needed for a team to be eligible for the Big Ten Championship Game.