Ohio State coach Ryan Day has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be with the Buckeyes if they play at Illinois on Saturday.
Ohio State said today it had an increased number of positive COVID-19 tests in the program this week.
The game against the Illini was still on, but the Buckeyes were not traveling on Friday as originally scheduled.
Ohio State said it planned to do a second round of testing Friday before flying to Champaign, Illinois, on Saturday ahead of the game scheduled for noon EST.
Buckeyes assistant head coach/defensive line coach Larry Johnson will act as interim coach with Day unavailable.
“I have spoken with Coach Day, and he is doing well physically,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “I feel terrible for Coach and for the members of the program who have been diagnosed with a positive test. Coach Day and this team have been true leaders in handling things so well throughout this pandemic. Our team wants to play this game, and we’re going to do everything we can to help make this happen.”
Ohio State did not specify how how many cases of COVID-19 it currently has in its football program, but the school did say the team had not reached the threshold to have to cancel its game.
The Buckeyes (4-0) already have had one Big Ten game canceled because of an outbreak at Maryland and have three left on the schedule, including at Illinois.
Big Ten rules state a team needs to play at least six game to be eligible to play for the conference championship, unless the average number of games played throughout the league is below six.
In that case, teams would be eligible to play in the conference title game as long as they are within two of the average.
The Big Ten started its season the weekend of Oct. 24 and scheduled no open dates for makeups in its eight-week, regular-season schedule.
No. 18 Wisconsin already has lost three games after Minnesota canceled earlier this week because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
That will leave the Badgers, the Big Ten West favorites, with only five regular-season games.
Day’s positive tests means the Nos. 1 and 3 teams in the country would be playing without their coaches Saturday.
Earlier this week, Alabama coach Nick Saban tested positive and displayed mild symptoms. Saban will miss the Crimson Tide’s Iron Bowl against Auburn.
Day is the 19th major-college football coach this year to publicly acknowledge testing positive for the virus.
Among the others to miss games were Purdue’s Jeff Brohm, Florida State’s Mike Norvell and Arkansas’ Sam Pittman.
After having to reschedule two games this week because of COVID-19 issues, the Southeastern Conference announced a series of scheduling moves to make up games on Dec. 5 that had been previously postponed, including Alabama at LSU.
The Tide and Tigers were scheduled to play on Nov. 14, but LSU could not because of a lack of players available due to COVID-19.
Arkansas at Missouri will also be made up on Dec. 5.
The Razorbacks were forced to postponed their game with the Tigers this week and Missouri instead was scheduled to play a makeup game with Vanderbilt.
Alabama at Arkansas, Mississippi at LSU and Missouri at Mississippi State still need to be rescheduled.
Alabama at Arkansas could be played on Dec. 12, the week before the SEC championship game.
LSU already has a game with Florida scheduled for Dec. 12, but it could play Ole Miss on the day of the SEC championship game, which the conference is using to make up regular-season games not involving the division winners.
Across college football, 15 of the 58 games originally scheduled for this week have been postponed or canceled, though some replacements have been added.
Utah will visit Washington after its scheduled Pac-12 opponents could not play, and San Diego State will play at Colorado in a nonconference game after Southern California could not play the Buffaloes.