ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan canceled this weekend’s game against Maryland because it had at least 12 positive COVID-19 cases within the football program, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The size of the outbreak has not been disclosed by the school and the person spoke to The AP only on condition of anonymity. The person did not know the number of players, coaches and staff members who were among the positive cases from testing on Sunday and Monday, nor did the person know how many players and coaches might be affected by contact tracing quarantine protocols.
While outbreaks have disrupted more than 100 games across major college football since late August, the problems with the Wolverines are being closely watched in part because they could put next week’s rivalry game at No. 3 Ohio State in jeopardy.
Ohio State (4-0) has missed two games already in this pandemic-shortened season because of COVID-19 issues. One more would leave the Buckeyes unable to reach a conference-mandated minimum to be eligible for the Big Ten championship game and potentially hurt their resume for a playoff berth.
Earlier this week, coach Jim Harbaugh said team meetings would be conducted virtually after an increased number of presumptive positive COVID-19 tests. The game against the Terrapins was canceled Wednesday; like Ohio State, Maryland has had two games canceled because of the virus.
On Wednesday night, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel strongly rebuked any notion that the Wolverines (2-4) would try to avoid facing rival Ohio State on Dec. 12, a game in which the Buckeyes would be heavily favored. Harbaugh is 0-5 as a coach against the Buckeyes.
Michigan has paused in-person football activities until at least Monday. Ohio State resumed in-person football activities this week ahead of Saturday’s game at Michigan State.
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