Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh has released a statement on the Big Ten’s decision to cancel fall sports and attempt to play a spring football season. His full comments can be read below.
Our student-athletes and coaches want to compete. They have committed, trained and prepared their entire lives for this opportunity, and I know how much they’re disappointed at this time. I share in their disappointment today.
We have shown over the weeks since returning to campus that we could meet the challenge and provide our student-athletes the opportunity of a fall football season.
Our football team, our coaching staff, our support staff in Schembechler Hall have all stepped up, followed every rule, and done everything in their power magnificently to give all the opportunity to compete. I am extremely proud, thankful and appreciative of our team and how they have conducted and represented our program and university.
Athletic director Warde Manuel released a statement earlier in the afternoon following the decision by the Big Ten:
“For the second time in five months, the Big Ten Conference made the unfortunate but necessary decision to postpone an athletic season in order to protect the health and well-being of our student-athletes, staff, and community members. As a result, all fall sport schedules have been postponed. This latest decision was reached after careful consideration and the grim knowledge that this pandemic continues to affect our country adversely. I am deeply saddened for our student-athletes and remain committed to our ongoing promise to provide them with a world-class education. We remain grateful to our global Michigan family for their unwavering support.”
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren in the conference’s statement on Tuesday. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.
“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference. Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”