It has been interesting what hasn’t been thought about, or what won’t be revisited, in this year of Covid-19 in the Big Ten and, to be fair, across the country. 

According to a piece at Eleven Warriors, Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith “hasn’t even thought about” petitioning the Big Ten in regard to lowering the minimum game threshold from six in order to compete in the conference championship, or modifying the mandatory 21 day shut down for players testing positive for the virus. 

“No, the conversations have not occurred,” Smith told the publication. “I understand that question and understand that people are thinking about that, but that’s not where we are.”

The third-ranked Buckeyes have been forced to cancel two games this season and, at 4-0, have only two games remaining on the schedule with Covid doing a number on their roster and putting those dates in peril.

If Ohio State is forced to cancel even one of their remaining games against Michigan State and/or Michigan they would be rendered ineligible for the league’s title game, which would be a devastating blow for the school and conference as the Buckeyes are betting favorite to reach the national championship game. It is not impossible that the College Football Playoff committee wouldn’t still take the Buckeyes—they have no minimum requirement—but a league championship is a primary consideration in selecting the sport’s final four and without it, Ohio State’s chances would be diminished.

Smith was more expansive with Eleven Warriors. 

“My concern today is making sure our players get fed. Making sure if they need a sports psychologist’s help, they get that. I get the question. I’m very sensitive to that. But that’s not where we are. I mean we made a decision late last night to do what we did, so a lot of things occurred late last night. So that last thing on my mind was [potential changes to the protocol].”

So Smith wanted to stay in the moment and make it clear his team and players were taken care of first, he did not rule out a conversation occurring over the next three weeks after the Buckeyes know more about which games they’ll be able to play to close the season. In addition to Ohio State’s problems, an outbreak of the virus could shut down either the Spartans or Wolverines, or both, at any moment.

“Might [that circumstance] come up later at some point? No question. But right now, I haven’t even thought about it. I want to make sure Ryan’s got what he needs, and I want to make sure the young men that have tested positive have what they need and I want to continue to talk to our doctors and others about whatever enhanced protocols we move forward with to give them a chance to possibly play Michigan State.”

The Buckeyes will know more about their own fate later this week. The rest of the piece with Smith discussing options can be read here. 

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