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 by 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.”
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 management decided to cancel the game due to an 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.
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.
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 harder from time to time, which 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 hard as everyone else 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.”
In addition, if another Big Ten game is canceled on Saturday, the conference could move around the games in an effort 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 Saturday, Indiana will represent the Eastern Division in the conference championship game.