Breaking: Illinois’ Saturday game canceled amid Ohio State COVID-19 cases

Illinois+head+coach+Lovie+Smith+gives+instructions+during+practice+on+Oct.+12.+The+Illini%27s+game+against+Ohio+State+on+Saturday+has+been+canceled+due+to+positive+COVID-19+tests+within+Ohio+State%27s+program.+

Photo Courtesy of Sam Anderson/Fighting Illini Athletics

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith gives instructions during practice on Oct. 12. The Illini’s game against Ohio State on Saturday has been canceled due to positive COVID-19 tests within Ohio State’s program.

By Gabby Hajduk, Sports Editor

Illinois’ football game against No. 4 Ohio State Saturday morning has been canceled due to multiple recent COVID-19 cases within the Ohio State football program.

“We are certainly disappointed that tomorrow’s game against Ohio State was canceled,” said Illinois head coach Lovie Smith in a press release Friday night. “In these uncertain times, and having seen similar situations around the nation, we have always been aware that this could occur to us as well. All of us in collegiate athletics place the health and safety of our student-athletes at the highest level. We hope the Ohio State players and staff who have contracted the COVID virus recover quickly so they can continue their season.”

The Illini and Buckeyes game will not be rescheduled and counts as a “no contest.” This is the first cancellation Illinois has faced this season, but the Big Ten conference has suffered several due to positive cases at Wisconsin, Maryland, Minnesota and now Ohio State.

Earlier on Friday, ESPN had reported Ohio State’s head coach Ryan Day had tested positive for the coronavirus and wouldn’t travel to Illinois to coach. Then, Bill Landis of The Athletic reported Ohio State’s flight to Champaign wouldn’t arrive until Saturday morning, less than three hours before game time. Ohio State had said they were conducting extra tests “out of abundance of caution to ensure that everyone on the trip is confirmed negative for the coronavirus.”

247Sports had first reported on Wednesday, the game could be in jeopardy due to positive tests within the program.

The Illini will now have to wait until next Saturday to host Iowa.

@gabby_h11

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