Ohio State coach Ryan Day is one of several individuals on the team who has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Friday. He will not be able to coach the team as it travels to take on Illinois.
Per the Buckeyes’ release — which did not specify when he produced the test — the team is still able to play against the Fighting Illini Saturday: The increased number of positive tests didn’t reach the threshold to cancel the game, per Big Ten Conference testing protocols. The team also announced that assistant head coach/defensive line coach Larry Johnson will serve as interim coach in Day’s absence.
It will be his first game as acting head coach.
“I have spoken with Coach Day, and he is doing well physically,” Ohio State athletics 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. All of the decisions on the welfare of our student-athletes and staff members will continue to be guided by our medical staff.”
Per Big Ten coronavirus testing protocols, Day will face a 10-day isolation period before he can return to coach. That means, depending on when he produced the positive test, he will also be unable to coach against Michigan State on Dec. 5.
Out of an abundance of caution, Ohio State also announced that it would delay its flight to Champaign, Ill., until early Saturday. The team will undergo extra PCR testing Friday to ensure everyone who travels to Illinois is confirmed negative for the coronavirus.
No. 3 Ohio State (4-0) will take on Illinois (2-3) at noon ET on Fox Sports 1.
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