COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc throughout college football, and now it has reached the Big Ten.
The University of Maryland announced Wednesday that it has paused all team activities due to “an elevated number of COVID-19 cases” in its football program. In a press release, Maryland said eight football players have tested positive over the past seven days.
As a result, the Terps’ home game against No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday has been canceled and will not be rescheduled.
Maryland said the decision to pause team activities and cancel the game was made by athletic director Damon Evans and school president Daryll Pines after “recommendation from university health officials and in consultation with the Big Ten.”
"There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff," Evans said. "We realize that this news is disappointing to all of the Maryland fans out there who were looking forward to the Terps taking on an outstanding Ohio State team, but the responsible thing for us to do is pause football activities, given the number of positive cases currently in our program."
Maryland is off to a 2-1 start and is coming off an upset road win over Penn State. Ohio State, meanwhile, is 3-0 and ranked No. 3 in the country. Both teams are down to seven regular season games. Whether losing a potential win from its resume affects Ohio State’s quest to return to the College Football Playoff remains to be seen.
“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes is our main concern,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “Obviously, we are disappointed at not being able to compete this week, but I am incredibly proud of our team and the way they have handled themselves throughout this entire pandemic. We wish Maryland, their student-athletes and programs well as they battle through this issue.”
3rd Big Ten game canceled in 2020
The Maryland-Ohio State game is the eighth game of Week 11 to be postponed or canceled, including four games in the SEC. Two other Big Ten games have been canceled so far this season, both involving Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s games against Nebraska and Purdue were called off as UW dealt with an outbreak in its program. When the Purdue game was canceled, Wisconsin said it had 27 active cases within its program: 15 players and 12 staff members. Badgers head coach Paul Chryst was among those who tested positive. Chryst tested positive on Oct. 28 and returned from mandatory isolation on Thursday.
The university said Monday that the program is down to five active cases and is on track to return to the field this Saturday against Michigan.
All Big Ten programs undergo daily antigen testing for COVID-19 for athletes, coaches and staff. Any individual who tests positive on the antigen test is removed from team activities and is then required to follow up with a PCR test for confirmation.
Any player that is confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 is required to miss a minimum of 21 days and undergo “comprehensive cardiac testing.”
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