- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2020

For the third time in four weeks, Maryland football’s schedule has been disrupted.

Saturday’s game against Michigan has been called off due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Wolverines’ program, the school announced Wednesday. Michigan is pausing football practices until Monday, a decision made in consultation with medical professionals and the Ann Arbor health department, according to a release.

“The decision by our medical professionals to stop practices and cancel this Saturday’s game against Maryland was made with the health, safety and welfare of the student-athletes, coaches and staff as our utmost priority,”

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. “We have seen an increase in the number of student-athletes unavailable to compete due to positive tests and associated contact tracing due to our most recent antigen and PCR testing results.”

The outbreak also threatens Michigan’s rivalry game against Ohio State on Dec. 12 and the Buckeyes’ chances to play for a Big Ten title.

Ohio State had to cancel its game last week at Illinois because of COVID-19 cases in its program. It was the second game the Buckeyes (4-0) have lost from their regular-season schedule. One more would leave them unable to reach the conference-mandated minimum to be eligible for the Big Ten championship game.

Ohio State said the Buckeyes had resumed in-person football activities Tuesday, an encouraging sign that they will be able to play at Michigan State on Saturday.

But now, the Michigan game is in danger.

This is the third time Maryland (2-2) has had a game canceled this season. Matchups against Ohio State and Michigan State were wiped out last month after the Terrapins had 23 positive tests for COVID-19, including head coach Michael Locksley.

Locksley said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday that he hadn’t thought about a cancelation, instead focused on preparing to face Michigan.

“Until we hear anything differently, we’re not even going there,” Locksley said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Michigan, having gone through what they may be going through, which I’m not privy to that information other than what you hear. I just hope the health and safety of their players and staff are at the forefront of our thought process and that they’re all fine and that we get the opportunity to compete against them this week.”

Maryland has played only one game since defeating Penn State on Nov. 7, losing last week at Indiana. The Terrapins are scheduled to wrap up the regular season Dec. 12 at home against Rutgers.

The Mid-American Conference announced Kent State at Miami (Ohio) scheduled for Saturday would not be played because of roster issues related to the virus at Kent State.

So far, six games scheduled for this weekend have been postponed or canceled, including Washington State at No. 17 Southern California, which was pushed back two days from Friday to Sunday.

In the previous three weeks, 52 games were canceled or postponed, about 29% of what was scheduled.

Mississippi also suspended team activities in football Wednesday, though the Rebels have an open date this weekend.

Coach Lane Kiffin said the team could return to the practice field after as little as a one-day hiatus.

“We’d be able to play as of right now, with no more” positive tests, Kiffin said.
The Rebels still have games to make up against Texas A&M and LSU.

⦁ This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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