Insert “Michigan definitely won’t lose to Ohio State joke” here.
The annual game between the Wolverines and the Buckeyes won’t happen in 2020. Michigan has announced that an uptick in COVID-19 cases has forced the cancellation.
“The number of positive tests has continued to trend in an upward direction over the last seven days,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said. “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.”
The move makes Ohio State ineligible, for now, for the Big Ten championship. Per conference rule, the Buckeyes need one more game to qualify. Via Tom VanHaaren of ESPN.com, Big Ten athletic directors could change the benchmark at a meeting on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, former Ohio State quarterback and ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit made waves by suggesting that Michigan could find a way to not play Ohio State, keeping Ohio State out of the Big Ten championship.
“I still think Michigan waves the white flag [and] potentially avoids playing Ohio State next week,” Herbstreit said. “Is that fair? . . . Michigan could opt out, basically, and keep Ohio State out of six games to qualify for the Big Ten championship. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
He later apologized.