UMD football game against Ohio State canceled after eight players test positive for COVID-19

A sign points toward Maryland Stadium, where on-campus COVID-19 testing has been taking place. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

Maryland football’s game against No. 3 Ohio State was canceled due to a high number of COVID-19 cases within the Terps’ program, the athletic department announced Wednesday afternoon. The contest will not be rescheduled.

Eight players have tested positive in the last week, per the athletic department.

“There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” athletic director Damon Evans said in a statement. “The responsible thing for us to do is pause football activities.”

The decision was made by Evans and university President Darryll Pines, in consultation with university health officials and the Big Ten, the statement read.

In September, the conference said it would shut down a team’s practices and games if both its seven-day rolling average test positivity rate was above 5 percent and its population positivity rate exceeded 7.5 percent. The athletic department has not released that data from the past week.

The Big Ten did not mandate Maryland’s pause, according to a department spokesperson.

Saturday’s contest is the third Big Ten football game to be canceled due to a high number of COVID-19 cases. The other two cancelations both involved Wisconsin. Several other teams nationwide have also postponed or canceled matchups this weekend due to spiking COVID-19 rates, including top-ranked Alabama.

This is the second time Maryland football has paused organized workouts in the past three months. All Maryland athletics teams halted practice in early September after 46 athletes tested positive for COVID-19. In mid-September, 35 more athletes tested positive.  

The athletic department had not reported COVID-19 testing results from after Sept. 30 until Wednesday. Out of the 1,510 tests administered since that date, ten athletes tested positive for COVID-19. The department has received 120 positive results since it began releasing data in late June.

“We’re obviously extremely disappointed that we’ll be unable to host Ohio State this Saturday,” head coach Mike Locksley said in a statement. “However, we have and always will keep our players, coaches and staff[’s] safety at the forefront of our decision making process.”

This story has been updated.

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