The Michigan Wolverines officially announced on Tuesday that this weekend’s scheduled game against the Iowa Hawkeyes has been canceled due to rising COVID-19 positives within the program. According to athletic director Warde Manuel, Michigan would have been without over 50 players this weekend if they had decided to travel to Iowa City for the Champions Week finale.
That does not shed light on the positives within the program, as the number is combined with injuries, positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing. It simply seems as if it was untenable to field a competitive roster with multiple position groups wiped out.
Here is the full statement from Manuel:
“In accordance with the Big Ten COVID-19 medical policies and health guidelines, we are without a significant number of players for this week’s game,” said Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. “Couple that with the normal attrition due to injury, and we do not have enough available players at multiple position groups to field a team at Iowa. We have more student-athletes out this week compared to last week and the week prior.
“The number of positive tests over the past three weeks, which require a 21-day unavailability period, and the contact tracing requirements associated with those numbers has pushed our current list of unavailable student-athletes to over 50. This is a very unfortunate situation and we are disappointed that our program will not be able to finish the season against the Hawkeyes.”
“I am very proud of the way that our players worked to try and get back onto the field but the numbers simply don’t support us taking the field on Saturday. This has been a very challenging and difficult 2020 for everyone and we want to make sure we are doing what is right for our student-athletes at every step along the way, and that ultimately is ensuring their health, safety and welfare.”
According to people with knowledge of the situation, Michigan also seems as if it will not pursue a bowl opportunity, though nothing is official on that front. The 2020 season ends with a 2-4 record that ended with four losses in five games, a triple-overtime win at Rutgers, and three-straight weeks of wiped-out contests due to COVID-19.
Next up for the program is the early signing period for recruits from Wednesday through Friday in addition to contract negotiations between head coach Jim Harbaugh and Manuel. They have maintained they would meet to hash things out at the end of the season and now it’s here. Buckle up.