Ohio State delays player availability report for football game at Illinois

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State coach Ryan Day talks to the offense during a game against Indiana last Saturday.

Ohio State will not release an availability report for its football game at Illinois until about 10 a.m. Saturday, two hours before scheduled kickoff, a school spokesman said.

The weekly report, which lists the players who are unavailable for the coming game, is usually out on Friday.

The delay came amid reports about multiple positive coronavirus cases within the program.

The school, which does not disclose the team’s COVID-19 testing data, has declined to comment on if any players, coaches or staff personnel have tested positive in recent days.

About 170 people in the program go through daily testing through the use of antigen tests that were obtained by the Big Ten and distributed across the conference in late September.

The Buckeyes have continued to practice this week in preparation to face the Fighting Illini. Photos tweeted by the team on Thanksgiving showed several prominent players still on the field, including star quarterback Justin Fields. Coach Ryan Day was also seen speaking in front of the team and raising the Illibuck Trophy, which is given to the winner between OSU and Illinois.  

Ohio State is planning to depart for Illinois on Friday night following another round of coronavirus testing and a walk-through, as well as other final game preparations, at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Coronavirus issues at Ohio State have largely been limited this season, while outbreaks have been experienced by other teams across the country this fall.

Rising cases at Maryland prompted it to cancel its game against the Buckeyes two weeks ago.

That remains the only Ohio State game in this pandemic-affected season to be called off. 

Saturday's kickoff at Illinois remains on schedule for noon and is to air on FS1. The remaining regular-season games are at Michigan State on Dec. 5 and at home against Michigan on Dec. 12. The Big Ten championship game is the following weekend.