Throughout the season, Land-Grant Holy Land will be bringing you uncut audio primarily from Ohio State press conference, but also from individual interview sessions.
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As you undoubtedly know by now, last night, the Ohio State athletic department canceled the team’s football game against Illinois that had previously been scheduled for today, citing an increase in positive coronavirus tests in the days leading up to the announcement.
Saturday's game agains tIllinois has been cancelled pic.twitter.com/f4xnlikFSB— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) November 28, 2020
This comes on the heels of an announcement earlier in the day on Friday that head coach Ryan Day would not be able to coach after his own positive test. Associate head coach and defensive line coach Larry Johnson had been named the interim head coach, and presumably would still undertake those responsibilities should the Buckeyes be able to get back on the field before Day was cleared to return.
On Saturday morning, just 30 minutes before the game was initially scheduled to kick off, Day, athletic director Gene Smith, and team physician Dr. Jim Borchers, met with the media via Zoom to address the COVID-related developments from the past week.
Day said that the team is still focusing on getting prepared to play Michigan State on Dec. 5., and as long as they can get back to practicing by Thursday, that is still a possibility. Smith commented that there had not been any discussions about the Big Ten revisiting either the six-game minimum to qualify for the Big Ten Championship, or the 21-day period that a player has to sit out following a confirmed positive test, but he did say that those conversations could happen in the future.
Jim Borchers said Ohio State went beyond the 7.5% population positivity rate threshold yesterday, but has not gone beyond the 5% test positivity rate threshold.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) November 28, 2020
If the Buckeyes go over both, they'll be forced to pause for seven days.
Dr. Brothers also clarified a statement that Smith made earlier in the call that while the team did not meet the Big Ten mandated thresholds for the game to be canceled, they did meet one of thresholds — the 7.5% total population positivity rate — on Friday afternoon. Borchers added that he did not believe that any B1G team had met both of the required thresholds to cancel games, and that the conference had just set those up as goalposts to provide programs the opportunity to make their own decisions in regard to cancellation.
Smith said that technically, the team could have played, but that they did not believe that it was the right thing to do, given the rise in positive tests over the past few days.
Contact Matt Tamanini