The Michigan football team’s scheduled game against Maryland for Dec. 5 has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, a program spokesperson confirmed. The news was first reported by Chris Balas of The Wolverine.
“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 Wolverines first paused all in-person team activities on Monday following multiple presumptive positive COVID-19 tests. As it waited for PCR testing to confirm the initial results, Michigan continued working virtually on Tuesday.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we will again hold all team activities in a virtual format (Tuesday),” a team spokesman said. “We will continue to follow the prevention protocols and recommendations of our medical professionals and the health department, and do everything to keep our focus on protecting the health, safety and welfare of our student-athletes and staff.”
In a season ravaged by COVID-19, this is the Wolverines’ first canceled game. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh shared limited information about the outbreak during his Monday afternoon press conference. He didn’t reveal any case numbers, though he mentioned there was at least one presumptive positive test entering Saturday’s game against Penn State. That player did not see the field.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, the programs that have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks this season — Wisconsin, Maryland and Minnesota — have missed two games. Ohio State is currently working towards playing this Saturday after canceling last week’s game against Illinois.
Whether or not the Wolverines will be able to take the field against the Buckeyes next Saturday remains to be seen.