Ohio State-Illinois game canceled due to COVID-19
Ohio State’s game vs. Illinois this weekend has been canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Buckeyes’ program.
OSU announced that news in a release late Friday night:
Ohio State-Illinois was just cancelled by Ohio State "after further positive tests for the coronavirus were discovered after a round of PCR testing this afternoon." pic.twitter.com/1TmEjUdRGE
— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) November 28, 2020
Earlier on Friday, coach Ryan Day tested positive for the virus. That prompted the Buckeyes to do another round of testing on Friday before traveling to Illinois for their game on Saturday.
That round of tests resulted in “an increase in positives,” per the release, and thus the cancelation.
This could have a broader impact than just missing this game. The Buckeyes will likely be ineligible to play in the Big Ten Championship Game if they are unable to play their next two games.
Per Big Ten policy, teams must play in at least six games to be eligible for a division title. Ohio State also missed a game earlier this season due to a COVID-19 outbreak at Maryland.
The only caveat is if the average number of games played for the division falls below six, per ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
The Big Ten's six-game threshold only applies if the average number of games in the division is six or higher. In the East Division, four teams are set to play their sixth game tomorrow: Michigan, Penn State, Indiana and Rutgers.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) November 28, 2020
It’s unclear what the College Football Playoff committee would do in a scenario where Ohio State only had five or six wins and no conference championship.
This will also likely hurt Justin Fields’ Heisman candidacy. Fields looked like one of the favorites to win the award before throwing three interceptions vs. Indiana last week. That performance, plus multiple missed games, could put him in a tough spot.
Ohio State is currently scheduled to face Michigan State in Week 7 and Michigan in Week 8 to close out the regular season.