Maryland football is canceling its Nov. 14 matchup against Ohio State and suspending football activities after an elevated number of COVID-19 cases in the Terps’ program, the school announced Nov. 11.
Eight members of the football team had tested positive for the virus in the past seven days, according to a university press release.
“There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” athletic director Damon Evans said in the release. “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 the second Big Ten football team forced to cancel a game due to positive cases since the season’s delayed start Oct. 23; Wisconsin has been idle each of the last two weekends following an outbreak in its program. Evans and university president Darryl Pines reached the joint decision to cancel the Ohio State game “following a recommendation from University health officials, and in consultation with the Big Ten Conference,” according to the release.
The Terps are 2-1 this fall and have won consecutive games following a 43-3 loss at Northwestern in their season opener. Maryland bounced back with a 45-44 overtime victory against Minnesota Oct. 30, then went on the road and dominated Penn State for a 35-19 win Nov. 7, just their third in program history over the Nittany Lions.
As COVID-19 cases continue to spike nationwide — a record 139,855 new cases were reported in the United States Nov. 10 — college football schedules across the country are in flux. Four SEC games have already been postponed this weekend, as have three Group of 5 matchups (including Memphis at Navy, which has also been canceled outright).
Maryland began testing its football players daily Sept. 30, with men’s and women’s basketball starting daily PCR screening tests Oct. 26. According to the release, 10 of the 1,510 tests have come back positive.
The Ohio State game will not be rescheduled, as the condensed Big Ten slate has no built-in bye weeks for canceled games to be made up. Maryland’s next scheduled contest is at home against Michigan State Nov. 21, followed by visits to Indiana Nov. 28 and Michigan Dec. 5 before hosting Rutgers Dec. 12.
“We’re obviously extremely disappointed that we’ll be unable to host Ohio State this Saturday,” Terps head coach Michael Locksley said in the release. “It was an opportunity that our team was preparing for and excited about. However, we have and always will keep our players, coaches and staff’s safety at the forefront of our decision-making process. We’ll continue to operate as much as we can virtually as we monitor the situation in hopes of returning to play when it’s deemed safe.”
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