Sports | November 28, 2020 10:40 am

Pandemic Concerns Prompt Ohio State to Cancel Illinois Game

The Buckeyes have also paused all team-related activities

Indiana v Ohio State
Quarterback Justin Fields of the Ohio State Buckeyes leads his team on to the field on November 21, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio.
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes’ football team is currently ranked fourth in the country; with a game scheduled against Illinois for later today, the team had a chance to further impress observers of the sport. But it turns out that there are more important things in life than a team’s ranking — like, say, keeping your team and their opponents safe from the pandemic.

On Friday night, a number of people within Ohio State’s football program tested positive for COVID-19. Among them was the team’s coach, Ryan Day.

ESPN reports that the university’s athletic director, university president and head team physician collectively made the decision to cancel the game. It’s the second time Ohio State has had to make that difficult decision this season; they also canceled a game earlier this month against Maryland, citing pandemic concerns.

The ESPN article also contains a comprehensive look at how pandemic cancellations might affect the post-season. Of particular note is this detail: “For Ohio State to compete in the Big Ten championship game, it has to play both of its remaining regular-season games, on Dec. 5 at Michigan State and Dec. 12 at home versus rival Michigan.”

For now, the team has paused all activities and is working within the guidelines established by the Big Ten to determine when it’s safe to resume play. When that will be, and how it will affect the coming games, remains to be seen.