Ohio State men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann receives false COVID-19 positive test

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann

Ohio State men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann received a presumptive positive COVID-19 test that was then proven negative within six hours, The Dispatch has learned.

The Buckeyes have been undergoing daily testing since Oct. 26 as they have continued to practice in preparation for a season that can officially begin on Nov. 25. Tuesday morning, Holtmann's daily rapid test returned a possible positive, and he immediately left Value City Arena, headed to the fairgrounds and underwent a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that came back negative, Holtmann confirmed when reached by The Dispatch.

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“I immediately went home and quarantined and did a Zoom staff meeting and worked on practice,” Holtmann said. “We were actually having our first intrasquad scrimmage today. I worked on practice and we have a room in our basement that is a COVID room, if one of us gets it. I immediately went down there. I had to wait for about six hours, maybe, for the test results.”

So while Holtmann had to quarantine for a short time, he never officially tested positive for COVID-19. 

“Honestly, I wasn’t anxious,” he said. “I feel really bad for all the people it’s affected in a really profound and significant way. I didn’t go immediately there in my mind. I was just, ‘OK, how do we mitigate any type of spread, talking with (athletic trainer Brad Watson) about contact tracing and what’s the plan if in fact I was going to get a positive from the PCR. I was in the process of developing a plan, and I got a call from Brad saying it was a false positive.”

The university has declined to provide details regarding the number of tests or positive results within the athletic department, citing student privacy laws. Holtmann did say that all his players tested negative Tuesday morning and that the program has had "very limited interrupt

The men's basketball program was set to open the season in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Nov. 25 but withdrew from the event late last week due to rising positive test rates in the region and the inclusion of South Dakota on a list of states that would require Ohioans to quarantine for 14 days upon their return from visiting.

The news comes one day after Michigan State coach Tom Izzo tested positive. Per Big Ten COVID-19 protocols, Izzo will be away from his team for at least 10 days dating back to Saturday, when he first started to experience symptoms. 

“It’s life as we know it,” Holtmann said. “It’s obviously real and I’m wishing Tom a quick and speedy recovery at Michigan State, but for me my biggest thing I was didn’t want to be around our players or staff or anyone else. I was really glad that our players all had negative results this morning.”