COLUMBUS, Ohio – With any problems related to the coronavirus, Ohio football has not stopped preparations for Saturday’s game in Illinois.
The Buckeyes trained on schedule on Thursday, although it was unclear whether the structure of this training should be changed due to the reported increase in COVID-19 cases within the program. A source told cleveland.com that positive tests or related isolation due to contact tracking affect players, coaches and support staff.
Ohio posted a series of photos from the practice on Thursday on Twitter. Players represented as attending training sessions include quarterback Justin Fields and offensive players Josh Myers, Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petty-Frere.
Another photo shows coach Ryan Day holding the Illibuck trophy, which will be in play on Saturday. In the video for the team meal, the starting backback Baron Browning participates. Another video featured Jonathan Cooper starting a defensive end.
Reports of an increase in positive tests within the program appeared for the first time on Thursday night. Ohio has confirmed nothing but Thursday̵
Ohio usually issues a status report Friday morning around 10 a.m. This report does not distinguish between injuries, illness or disciplinary absences. Due to the daily testing of COVID-19 during the Big Ten, this report is also smoother than usual, as new absences may appear after the report is released.
In other words, what the team releases on Friday, if it can, may be the best scenario in terms of its list for Saturday’s game.
All players who have passed positive results will not be able to play in any of the last three games of the regular season, according to the policy of the Big Ten, which requires 21 days out of competition. After the game in Illinois, Ohio is scheduled to play in Michigan on December 5 and at home against Michigan on December 12. Next is the match for the Big Ten championship on December 19.
It’s also important to remember that, depending on the testing thresholds, Ohio may reach a point where whether it’s playing or training is beyond its control.
According to 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, trainers and other staff – must stop operations. Not all canceled games can be invented. Ohio has already missed a game due to the Maryland outbreak.
Positive tests in the range of 2.5-5% for the team and 3.5-7.5% for the population mean that the program must change its practice and schedule of meetings and “consider the viability to continue with the planned competition.”
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