COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State football coach Ryan Day has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not coach in Saturday’s game in Illinois, according to several sources.
Ohio State still plans to play Saturday and flies out Saturday morning if the number of positive tests within the program does not grow. This news was first reported to Buckeye Talk text subscribers. Ohio State confirmed the development with a press release Friday afternoon.
Associate head coach / defensive line coach Larry Johnson will serve as interim coach instead of Day.
Reports emerged only Wednesday night that the Buckeyes were dealing with an unspecified number of positive coronavirus tests within the program. Ohio State had previously declined to comment on those reports. A source told cleveland.com on Thursday that the tests and contact tracking affected players, coaches and support staff.
In its press release, Ohio State confirmed “an increased number of positive tests this week.”
It also said the increased tests have not pushed past the Big Ten’s threshold of demand for cancellation.
Players who test positive for COVID-19 must remain out of competition for at least 21 days. However, buses are only required to isolate for at least 10 days and be symptom-free for 24 hours.
An Ohio State Department spokesman said Day’s 10-day quarantine could see him return Monday, Dec. 7, if he tests negative and is cleared. The match against Michigan in Columbus is five days later, on December 12th.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 19, did not coach the season opener, and returned to coach on Oct. 31.
“I have spoken with Coach Day and he is doing well physically,” OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith said in the press release. “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 through this pandemic.
“Our team wants to play this game and we will do everything we can to make this happen. All decisions about our students’ athletes and staff welfare will continue to be guided by our medical staff. ”
Dag has on several occasions talked about the daily stress caused by waiting for the fast antigen test results in the program to return. Ohio State’s game in Maryland earlier this month was canceled due to the Terrapins’ outbreak.
Day said he instructed his players to assume that everyone they come in contact with has the virus and to act accordingly.
“It’s definitely week to week, day-to-day,” Day said on November 3. “You hold your breath all week. You breathe the day. ”
Ohio State did not release its usual status report Friday morning, saying instead it would do so at 6 p.m. 10 Saturday.
• Ohio State football withholds player status report for Illinois as it handles coronavirus cases
The understanding for the 2020 season has been that the report is weak, as players and staff are tested daily for COVID-19 per. Big Ten Protocol. In this case, due to contact tracking and pending test results, Ohio State may have more players than usual if their status remains in the air until Saturday’s kickoff.
The status report will be relevant beyond Saturday’s match. Players whose positive tests for COVID-19 have been confirmed must be out of competition for at least 21 days. That means any Ohio State player who recently tested positive this week cannot play in any of the last three games: Saturday in Illinois, December 5 in Michigan State and December 12 vs. Michigan.
Ohio State’s status report does not distinguish between illness, injury, or disciplinary reasons for player absence.
The first reports of an increased number of COVID-19 cases within the OSU program came Wednesday night. A source told cleveland.com that the cases involved players, coaches and other staff. Ohio State tried to isolate those affected and continue preparations for Saturday’s game.
Ohio State practiced in some capacity Thursday and held a team Thanksgiving meal. Players confirmed as participants, per. Photos and videos posted by the team included quarterback Justin Fields, offensive linemen Josh Myers, Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere, linebacker Baron Browning and defensive end Jonathon Cooper.
If the number of positive tests increases through further testing this week or in the future, the decision to continue team activities may be out of Ohio State’s hands.
Per Big Ten Protocols, teams that experience cases among more than 5% of team members and more than 7.5% of the program’s “population” – a combination of players, coaches, managers, coaches and other staff – must stop operating.
Positive tests in the range of 2.5-5% for a team and 3.5-7.5% for the population mean that a program must change its practice and meeting schedule and “consider the viability of continuing with scheduled competition.” Without knowing the exact number of people affected so far, it is possible that OSU has already reached this middle threshold.
– This post was updated at 17.05 EST to reflect new information from OSU about the day Ryan Day could return to the team.
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