Illinois Will Be Without Bret Bielema Due To COVID

Illinois head coach Bret Bielema tested positive for COVID-19 and will not coach in Saturday's game at No. 18 Iowa.

Bielema said in a statement that he had developed a breakthrough case of COVID-19.

"After developing mild symptoms yesterday, I was tested and unfortunately late Monday night tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19," he said. "I'm disappointed that I will not be with our team this week when we travel to Iowa, but I'm grateful that I'm vaccinated and received the booster shot last week."

Bielema said the team has a set protocol for anyone on the staff who may be removed due to COVID, including him.

"Through technology, I will be as present as possible, however, when I can't be present our assistant head coach George McDonald will handle those moments," Bielema said. "George and I have had discussions before today if this situation would arise and I have full confidence in him and our staff in preparation for Iowa. If all stays on the current path, I should be available and present for next week. Our team has shown repeatedly this year that next man up is the standard not the exception and this will be another example of this mentality in our Illini FamILLy."

The Illini (4-6, 3-4) and No. 18 Iowa (8-2, 5-2) kickoff at 1:05 p.m. CT on FS1 at Kinnick Stadium.

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