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Ohio State Staying Vigilant To Ensure Rose Bowl Isn't Cancelled Amid COVID-19 Surge

The Buckeyes have had a couple cases within the program, though none are key contributors.

After having three games cancelled last season due to COVID-19 outbreaks both inside and outside of the program, Ohio State knows all too well the impact the virus can have on its schedule.

The Buckeyes are doing all they can to avoid a similar fate in the final game of the season, as the Rose Bowl Game against Utah will be played amid a nationwide spike in cases due to the Omicron variant.

“I think we’ve done a very good job of being smart in these areas and protecting ourselves,” head coach Ryan Day said during his media availability at Disneyland on Monday evening. “Obviously masked up indoors and doing those type of things and following the protocols that we had to this point.

“Just about all of our team is vaccinated right now and so we’re healthy and we’re going to be smart. Obviously we know what’s going on right now with the spike going on across the country and so we’ve talked to our team and we’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re healthy.”

Day noted there are some members of the team who recently tested positive, though it’s unclear if they’re still in protocols that kept them from traveling to Pasadena this week. None of them were key contributors, though.

“(We’ve had) a couple one-offs, but not bad,” Day said. “There have been a couple cases here and there, but for the most part, those have been isolated.”

Ohio State hasn’t been testing players who are vaccinated, which Day said is “just about all of our team,” unless they’re showing symptoms. Non-vaccinated players who received medical or religious exemptions from the university are tested twice weekly, meanwhile.

Players and coaches are also following local ordinances this week, including showing vaccination cards when required and wearing masks indoors. Thus, Day feels confident the Buckeyes are doing what they need to do in order to avoid a potential outbreak that could lead to the cancellation of Saturday’s game.

“We are dealing with college students, but they’ve done everything we’ve asked this year,” Day said. “A high, high majority of our team is vaccinated. We’ve talked at length about what this new spike has been like and all the different precautions we need to take.

“Certainly when we were at home over the break, we talked about it at length, and now being in Southern California, the exposure of getting here, we have to be really smart with it. We talked about all those things. Our guys, I think, are on it right now, and so we’ll just try to stay as vigilant as we can.”

Four bowl games have been cancelled thus far, including the Hawai’i Bowl, Military Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Fenway Bowl and Arizona Bowl, while both the Gator Bowl and Sun Bowl were able to find a replacement for a team that opted out due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Asked if he was concerned about the Rose Bowl suffering the same fate among rising cases nationwide, Ohio State secondary coach Matt Barnes put it bluntly that he is.

“I’ll just say, personally, I have concern, if for no other reason than I see other games around the country getting cancelled,” Barnes said on Tuesday morning. “I have no information that suggests our game is under threat, but I just see how hard our guys work and I know that they deserve a chance to go play in this game.

“Looking at the climate around the country and seeing other games cancelled, it’s certainly concerning.”


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