Michigan-Ohio State game called off for Sat.

NCAAF

The annual rivalry game between Michigan and Ohio State has been canceled due to an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past week within the Wolverines’ program, the school announced.

The decision was made after conversations with medical experts, health department officials and university administration.

“The number of positive tests has continued to trend in an upward direction over the last seven days,” said Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel. “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.

“This decision is disappointing for our team and coaches but their health and safety is paramount, and it will always come first in our decision-making.”

The Wolverines had canceled its game against Maryland on Dec. 5 and paused all team activities. The program was cleared for limited workouts on Monday and participated in those workouts, but the administration decided to cancel the game due to the increase in cases and the number of student-athletes in quarantine over the past week.

Michigan says it will continue daily testing with hopes of getting back on the practice field when cleared by medical officials.

Unbeaten Ohio State, which is ranked No. 3 in the latest AP poll and No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings, played its most recent game against Michigan State on Saturday and has now played five total games. Under the current Big Ten rules, the Buckeyes needed to play this final game against Michigan to gain eligibility to play in the Big Ten championship game against Northwestern.

The rule states that teams must play six games this season to gain eligibility for the championship game, unless the league average number of games played falls below six, which it has not.

Big Ten athletic directors will meet Wednesday, according to sources, when they could discuss changing the benchmark.

With Michigan cancelling the game, Indiana would be the East Division’s representative in the conference championship game, unless the conference were to alter the rules.

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