Saturday's rivalry game between Michigan and Ohio State has been canceled due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases and athletes in quarantine within the Wolverines' program.
"The number of positive tests has continued to trend in an upward direction over the last seven days," Warde Manuel, Michigan's athletic director, said in a statement. "We have not been cleared to participate in practice at this time. Unfortunately, we will not be able to field a team."
The school said it will continue daily COVID-19 testing in hopes it can return to practice soon.
"The Game," which was scheduled to be played at Ohio Stadium, was the final contest on both Ohio State and Michigan's regular-season schedules.
The Buckeyes are 5–0 and projected to represent the Big Ten East in the conference's championship game on Dec. 19. Under the original league rules, teams must play six regular-season games to qualify for the title game, and the Buckeyes have already missed two games this season. While no official rule has been confirmed, the rule states that Ohio State would only be able to play for a conference title if another league team is left without a Dec. 12 opponent due to a coronavirus outbreak.
Concerns about a possible cancellation of Saturday's game first surfaced last week when Michigan (2–4) was forced to cancel its contest against Maryland due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
The Wolverines returned to practice on Monday after pausing all football activities for nearly a week. However, the program still had concerns on Monday that its roster could be decimated by COVID-19 issues ahead of Saturday's game. According to The Athletic's Bruce Feldman, Michigan was going to be without around 45 players this weekend due to positive COVID-19 cases, contact tracing and injuries.
Saturday was set to be the 117th meeting for one of college football's biggest rivalries. Ohio State and Michigan first faced off in 1897. The last time the schools did not play each other in any capacity was in 1917. The Wolverines lead the all-time series 58–51–6. However, the Buckeyes have dominated it in recent years, winning the last eight consecutive games.