The Big Ten has amended its rules to allow Ohio State to compete in the conference championship game next Saturday, according to multiple reports Wednesday.
When reviving its season from the dead, Big Ten ADs agreed teams had to play in six games (or within two games of their division's average) to achieve eligibility for the conference championship game. This would have eliminated Ohio State, who is 5-0 and will not play Michigan this weekend.
The rule would have lifted Indiana, 6-1 with a loss to Ohio State, into the Big Ten Championship.
However, what moral grounds Indiana may have had in pointing to a 3-month-old rule died to the practical issue of Indiana's own health. The Hoosiers canceled their Old Oaken Bucket game with rival Purdue on Wednesday due to virus issues on both sides; thus far, only Ohio State has been able to keep its outbreak to one week. Any momentum for keeping the Buckeyes out also died when Michigan AD Warde Manuel argued on behalf of Ohio State. Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez, a former selection committee member, also said previously he'd be in favor of changing the rule.
Had the Big Ten stuck by its rule, it could have seen 5-0 Ohio State play in a second place game while division "champion" Indiana was unable to play in the title game. (The Michigan game was canceled due to issues on Michigan's end; Ohio State is healthy enough to play this weekend.)
The spirit of the rule was clearly intended to keep a 2-0 team from winning its division by default. That wasn't the case here.
Ohio State, No. 4 in the latest edition of the College Football Playoff rankings, will now advance to face West champion Northwestern. It will be Ohio State's fourth straight trip to Indianapolis and sixth overall, tying Wisconsin for the most in the conference. The 2020 title game will be a rematch of 2018, a 45-24 win by No. 6 Ohio State over No. 21 Northwestern.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.