Ryan Day, Ohio State football coach, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the school announced on Friday. He is currently in isolation, and assistant head coach/defensive line coach Larry Johnson will serve as interim head coach for the team when they face Illinois on Saturday. They will fly to Champaign, Illinois on Saturday morning instead of Friday night.
"At this time, the Department of Athletics can confirm an increased number of positive tests this week for the coronavirus," Ohio State said in a statement. "This is in contrast to testing throughout the season, when Ohio State had consistently recorded nearly 0% positivity since Aug. 11. The increased number does not reach the threshold for Ohio State to have to cancel the game this week, according to Big Ten Conference protocols."
Gene Smith, Ohio State's director of athletics, said Day is feeling well. "I have spoken with Coach Day, and he is doing well physically," Smith said. “I feel terrible for Coach and for the members of the program who have been diagnosed with a positive test. Coach Day and this team have been true leaders in handling things so well throughout this pandemic. Our team wants to play this game, and we’re going to do everything we can to help make this happen."
According to Cleveland.com, reporters surfaced Wednesday night that Ohio State was dealing with an unspecified number of positive COVID-19 tests in the program. Coaches who test positive for the virus are required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days and be symptom-free for 24 hours. Day could return to Buckeyes when they face Michigan State on Dec. 5, depending on what day he tested positive.
"It's very difficult because, for those of us who have school-aged children at home, it's very, very difficult to make sacrifices," Day said recently when talking about not being able to watch football with his son due to the pandemic via 247Sports. "Some of us are not sleeping in our homes and it's not easy. And so we're trying to figure all that part of it out. So that's the first thing that I don't know if anybody realizes the sacrifices that everybody's making to try to play this season." Ohio State is currently 4-0 on the year and ranked No. 4 in the country.