Maryland football out of running for Big Ten title game after Saturday’s game at Michigan canceled

The Maryland football team’s fleeting bid to play in the Big Ten championship game later this month was dashed Wednesday afternoon after its game Saturday at Michigan was canceled because of growing coronavirus concerns.

The Terps will not meet the minimum-game threshold to play in the title game after the Wolverines continued their suspension of all team activities due to rising cases of COVID-19 among their program.


The conference required all teams to play a minimum of six games this fall to earn consideration for the title game on Dec. 19. With the loss of Saturday’s game and the cancellation of games against No. 3 Ohio State and Michigan State on back-to-back Saturdays last month, the Terps (2-2) are scheduled to play five games this season and will therefore be ineligible for the championship game.

A team spokesman did not reply to a request for comment from Terps coach Mike Locksley. Fifth-year senior running back Jake Funk, who was held out of Saturday’s game at Indiana for issues related to last month’s COVID-19 outbreak, reacted to the news with a broken heart emoticon.


A written statement from Maryland said the Wolverines’ decision to halt all in-person activities was made after consulting medical experts and the local health department. It also included remarks from Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel.

“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,” Manuel said. “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 (2-4) have paused all meetings, practices and strength-training sessions since Monday when an apparent increase in the number of coronavirus cases surfaced within the program. They postponed all activities on Tuesday before Wednesday’s announcement. They will not be able to return to practice until Dec. 7.

The Terps’ hopes of qualifying for the Big Ten championship game were fleeting. They are currently third in the East Division standings behind the Buckeyes (4-0) and No. 10 Indiana (5-1) and would have lost a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Hoosiers after Saturday’s 27-11 loss in Bloomington, Indiana.

Saturday’s cancellation is the third in the past four weeks for the Terps, whose game at Indiana was their first since Nov. 7 when they defeated Penn State, 35-19. More than 100 college football games have been postponed or canceled this season. As cases have surged throughout the country during the previous three weeks, 52 games were canceled or postponed, about 29% of what was scheduled.

The cancellation could have significant ramifications for Ohio State, which had to cancel its game last week at Illinois because of a spike in COVID-19 cases in its program. It was the second game the Buckeyes (4-0) have lost from their regular-season schedule. One more would leave them unable to reach the conference-mandated minimum to be eligible for the Big Ten championship game.

Ohio State said the Buckeyes had resumed in-person football activities Tuesday, an encouraging sign that they will be able to play at Michigan State on Saturday. But now the Michigan game is in danger.

In its statement, the team said it would continue to hold meetings and practice Wednesday. Its next game is scheduled for Dec. 12 against Rutgers (2-4) at Maryland Stadium in College Park in the regular-season finale for both sides.


The Associated Press contributed to this article.