COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio State said its football game Saturday at Michigan State is on.
The team released an update Friday afternoon saying the team will travel to East Lansing, Michigan, later in the day. The Buckeyes and Spartans are scheduled to kick off at noon on Saturday.
The Buckeyes had to cancel their game last Saturday at Illinois because of COVID-19 cases in the program, including to coach Ryan Day.
Team physician Jim Borchers led risk-mitigation efforts this week, including virtual team meetings and small group workouts.
“We are very confident that we are heading to East Lansing with a team that can safely compete and whose health, safety and well-being has been our utmost concern,” Dr. Borchers said. “We’ve tested, monitored and evaluated our results daily and have advised the student-athletes, coaches and performance staff accordingly.
“Our population positivity rate, which exceeded the threshold for participation at this time last week, has now returned on the seven-day rolling average to a level that allows us to compete safely this weekend.”
Day remains in isolation and will not travel to the game. He will be allowed to resume on-field coaching on Monday. Associate head coach Larry Johnson has been filling in for Day.
It is unknown how many players may have tested positive for COVID-19 or who they are. Ohio State is expected to release a status update listing which players will be unavailable for the Michigan State game Saturday morning.
Ohio State is 4-0 with two games remaining in the regular season. Under Big Ten rules adopted for this season because of the coronavirus pandemic, a team must play at least six games to be eligible for the conference championship game, which is scheduled for Dec. 19 in Indianapolis.
The Buckeyes are fourth in the College Football Playoff rankings. Continuing to play and having an opportunity to win a conference championship should increase their chances of being one of the four teams selected.
The regular season is scheduled to end Dec. 12 with a game at Ohio Stadium against Michigan, but that game is in jeopardy because of COVID-19 cases in the Wolverines program that led them to cancel their game Saturday against Maryland.