Despite not meeting the original requirement of playing a minimum of six games this season, the Big Ten voted to allow Ohio State to participate in the Big Ten Championship Game for December 19.
The No. 4-ranked Buckeyes were slated to play their sixth game of the year on Saturday against archrival Michigan, but a coronavirus outbreak prompted the Wolverines to cancel their matchup against OSU. The cancelation was announced on Tuesday.
The move leaves No. 12 Indiana out of the title game. The Buckeyes previously defeated Indiana, giving the Hoosiers their lone loss of the season.
“The decision was based on a competitive analysis which determined that Ohio State would have advanced to the Big Ten Football Championship Game based on its undefeated record and head-to-head victory over Indiana regardless of a win or loss against Michigan,” the Big Ten said in a statement.
Ohio State is slated to take on No. 14 Northwestern in the title game.
A huge factor likely came down to Ohio State’s chances of making the coveted four-team College Football Playoff. The CFP uses conference championships as part of its formula in selecting the top four teams in the country. With its loss to Ohio State, Indiana would have been highly unlikely to qualify for the College Football Playoff.
The Buckeyes previously had two contests called off due to the coronavirus. Last month, an outbreak among Maryland players and staff prompted the Terrapins to cancel their game against OSU. Two weeks ago, a cluster of cases, including head coach Ryan Day, prompted the Buckeyes to cancel their matchup against Illinois.