Rising COVID-19 cases on Maryland’s football team has led to the cancellation of Saturday’s game against No. 3 Ohio State, the university announced Wednesday.
The Terrapins have had eight positive tests among players in the last week, and they paused all team-related activity.
Because of the Big Ten’s condensed schedule, no time is allotted for makeup games.
Maryland-Ohio State is the 55th FBS game to be canceled or postponed since Aug. 26 and the eighth game this week as cases surge across the nation.
Georgia-Missouri on Wednesday became the fourth SEC game this week to be postponed because COVID-19 protocols have left the Tigers short on players.
The Alabama-LSU and Tennessee-Texas A&M games were postponed Tuesday because the Tigers and Aggies rosters were depleted by positive tests, contact tracing and unrelated injuries. LSU fell below the SEC’s 53-scholarship-player threshold.
On Monday, Auburn paused team activities after nine players and three staff members tested positive, leading to the postponement of its game against Mississippi State.
Memphis at Navy, Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas State and Air Force at Wyoming also were postponed this week.
After Wisconsin canceled its last two games following an outbreak affecting 30 members of the program (17 players and 13 staff members), the Badgers expect to return to competition Saturday at Michigan. Wisconsin said its active cases have dropped to five.
The Big Ten mandates teams halt activity when the team positivity rate is greater than 5% and the team population positivity rate (including coaches and on-field staff) is greater than 7.5%.
Wisconsin canceled games before reaching that threshold, and it appears Maryland is taking the same precaution.
Between Sept. 30 and Nov. 10, Maryland said it conducted 1,510 on-campus PCR athlete screening tests with 10 total positives. Since testing began in athletics, Maryland said it has seen 120 positive results from 5,333 tests.
“We’re obviously extremely disappointed that we’ll be unable to host Ohio State this Saturday,” Maryland coach Mike Locksley said in a statement. “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.”
The cancellation was decided by Maryland athletic director Damon Evans and university President Darryll Pines, who followed university health official recommendations, according to a Maryland news release. They consulted with the Big Ten about the decision.
“There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” Evans said in a statement. “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.”
Illinois has not canceled a game but has been without starting quarterback Brandon Peters and backup tight end Griffin Moore for two weeks. The Illini also had an undisclosed staff member test positive, while seven players sat out because of contact tracing quarantine.
The quarantined players are expected to return for Saturday’s game at Rutgers. Peters and Moore can’t return until Nov. 21 at Nebraska at the earliest.