PULLMAN – The University of Miami announced that its football program has entered COVID-19 protocols, but the Hurricanes still plan to play Washington State in the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
The Miami Herald reported Tuesday that “several” Hurricanes players tested positive for the coronavirus recently. The bowl game is scheduled to kick off in El Paso, Texas, at 9 a.m. on Dec. 31 and the university “remains committed to its goal of participating,” per a statement issued by the Hurricanes’ athletic department.
As of Tuesday evening, Sun Bowl officials were uncertain “of the magnitude” of Miami’s COVID-19 issues, according to bowl chairman John Folmer, quoted by the Herald.
Bowl officials and Miami leadership were reportedly scheduled to meet and discuss the situation Wednesday .
Sun Bowl media relations director Edward Morelos told The Spokesman-Review over email that he expects an update as soon as Thursday.
Both teams had initially been scheduled to arrive in El Paso on Sunday. With Miami, that date is a little up in the air.
“If (the Hurricanes’) doctors make a decision that they can’t come as early as they had planned, we’ll welcome them whenever,” Folmer told the Herald.
Washington State’s plane will depart at 6 a.m. Sunday.
“We want to finish 2021,” WSU coach Jake Dickert said Wednesday. “We’ve done a great job at our place of following every protocol and mandate, and all those things.
“We’re just excited to make sure we’re ready to play this game. Our guys are focused, they’re ready. It’s unfortunate to see for those programs, but for us, we’re just making sure we’re doing everything we can to finish 2021 the right way.”
College football’s bowl season has not avoided the pandemic’s influence. Texas A&M announced Wednesday that it won’t play Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl because of COVID-19 issues and injuries. Rutgers is reportedly filling in for the Aggies.