In an announcement that could have huge implications on the sport of college football, Saturday’s game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines has been canceled due to a surge in coronavirus cases and quarantined players in the Michigan football program.
The University of Michigan made the announcement Tuesday afternoon in a press release. According to the school, the decision was made after consulting with medical experts and university officials at both schools.
“We have not been cleared to participate in practice at this time. Unfortunately, we will not be able to field a team due to COVID-19 positives and the associated quarantining required of close-contact individuals,” Michigan Director of Athletics Warde Manuel said in a statement.
The cancellation marks the first time since 1917 that the rivalry, one of the most storied in all of sports, will not be contested.
The cancellation also puts Ohio State in a precarious position. The school, currently ranked in fourth place in the College Football Playoff rankings, has only played five games, which leaves them one short of the minimum number of games required to qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game, set to be contested next week.
Unless Ohio State finds another opponent for this weekend, or if the Big Ten amends the minimum games played rule, the Buckeyes would be ineligible for the championship game, potentially hindering their chances of making it to the four-team College Football Playoff in early January.
There have been reports that the conference could consider allowing the Buckeyes to participate in the game, but no official decision has been made.