The school announced that the annual competition game between the states of Michigan and Ohio has been canceled due to an increase in COVID-19 cases last week within Wolverine’s plan.
The decision was made after consultations with medical experts, health department officials and the university administration.
“The number of positive tests has continued to improve over the past seven days,” said Michigan Athletics Director Ward Manuel. “We are not allowed to participate in practice at this time. Unfortunately, a team cannot be fielded due to the isolation required for COVID-19 positives and close contact persons.
“This decision is disappointing for our team and coaches, but their health and safety is paramount and it will always come first in our decision making.”
Michigan Chief Medical Officer Daryl Conway did not specify how many players tested positive on Tuesday or how many players were on the contact track, but the Wolverines did not fall on the red-and-red threshold to suspend operations for a project that would require the Big Ten.
The Big Ten test measures positive rate and population positive rate. The red-red rank is a test positive ratio greater than 5% and a population positive ratio greater than 7.5%. A team that falls into the orange category, below the red, must proceed with caution and improve COVID-19 resistance, which may result in the suspension of canceled games and team activities.
“No matter how much we wanted to play, it was clear to all of us that we started this again in March with the goal of putting the health and safety of our student athletes, our coaches, and our staff first. Priority,” Manuel said. “As the numbers continue to grow, we can not ignore how much we want to play this big game against the state of Ohio. We must put their health and safety first. There is no reason to move forward. “
The Wolverines canceled their game against Maryland on December 5 and suspended all team activities. The program was scrapped on Monday for limited exercise and participation in those exercises, but administrations decided to cancel the game due to the increase in cases and the number of isolated student-athletes last week.
Michigan says it will continue daily testing in hopes of returning to the training field when it is cleared by medical authorities.
The cancellation of the game puts Ohio State in a total of five games played this season, which is on the threshold of the Big Ten conference to compete in the conference championship game against the Northwest.
– Ohio State Football (h Ohiostate FB) December 8, 2020
The rule states that teams must play six games to qualify for the championship game, unless the average number of games throughout the conference is less than six.
“We will continue to be transparent,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said Tuesday. “We will continue to communicate with our coaches and athletic directors as we continue to make decisions that will affect our conference over the next two weeks. We will work through these issues. … We need to be fluid, we are fast these times. This has never happened before.”
The Big Ten athletic directors will meet on Wednesday to discuss changing the criteria, according to sources.
“I think we have to look at these things hard from time to time, and this is one of those situations,” Buckies coach Ryan Day said Tuesday. “If we don’t get much of the games we need to get in the championship game, I think we should look at it as harshly as the others at the conference. There is no easy solution at times like this.
“I know those people are going to work hard on it together and make sure it’s the right decision.”
Manuel accepted Dave’s feeling about changing the rules if the state of Ohio could not meet the six-game requirement. Manuel said the Buckeyes are one of the top four teams in the country and should be given the opportunity to play in the college football playoffs if selected in the top four.
“I do not believe Ohio State or any other team should be punished because of the decisions we made after watching eight games and saying we should play in six,” Manuel said. “… I’m open, I think the conference is open, we need to have a debate about whether or not to make changes, whether the state of Ohio needs to adjust six or more schedules to play enough games? Well, we said six, so it’s not going to be. ‘
“I think the conversation deserves to happen, to see if we can make any changes. This is an unprecedented time for everyone, and we need to make sure we are flexible and can move and make decisions based on the data we have.”
In addition, if another Big Ten game on Saturday is canceled, the conference may move around the games in an attempt to play Ohio State.
Burdock, who canceled Tuesday’s procedure to evaluate its latest COVID-19 test, could tour the Big Ten Games or play Indiana and Ohio again if he happens to cancel against Indiana.
If the conference does not change its rules and the state of Ohio does not play on Saturday, Indiana will be the Eastern Division representative in the conference championship game.