Mid-Michigan to play Washington State in Sun Bowl after Miami pulls out due to COVID-19 concerns


Central Michigan will travel approximately 300 miles from Tucson to El Paso to play Washington State in the Sun Bowl after Miami was forced to pull out due to COVID-19 concerns. The new game marks the first game between these two programs and CMU’s first appearance in the historic Sun Bowl.

The Chippewas were originally scheduled to play in the Arizona Bowl, but the game was postponed after Boise State was forced to step down due to similar issues with Covid. Washington state has remained committed to the Sun Bowl and campaigned publicly to find an opponent, especially after the team landed in El Paso.

Although financial terms have not been disclosed at this time, the Sun Bowl is airing on CBS and is expected to distribute more than $ 4.5 million to each school. By comparison, the Arizona Bowl was to pay out $ 350,000 to each participating school.

Miami was forced to withdraw from the Sun Bowl due to major Covid issues within the program. The Hurricanes are also said to have played with an interim coach following the sacking of former coach Manny Diaz.

“We are extremely disappointed that our football team is unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl,” Miami deputy director of athletics Jennifer Strawley said in a statement. “But due to the number of COVID-19 cases impacting our roster, we do not have enough student-athletes to compete safely, and the health and safety of our student-athletes will always be our concern. top priority. This team has worked hard all season to win an invitation to the bowl and my hearts go out to our student-athletes, especially our seniors. I also want to thank interim head coach Jess Simpson and our team at football for all their efforts in preparing for this bowl game. “

Washington State arrived in El Paso earlier this week for the Sun Bowl festivities. The Cougars remained determined to find an opponent to play in the Sun Bowl, which until last season was only behind the Rose Bowl as the second longest bowl game in college football history. . The Sun Bowl was canceled in 2020 by the pandemic, the first missed Sun Bowl since 1935.

“It is disappointing news that the University of Miami is unable to participate in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl 2021,” read a statement from Washington state. “We will be working with the Pac-12 Conference and the Sun Bowl Association to hopefully find a replacement opponent for the game.

Miami is the fifth team to withdraw from a bowl game this season due to COVID-19 protocols, player withdrawals and / or injuries that decrease the number of players available on the roster. The Canes are the third CCA team to withdraw from a Sunday bowl game.

Virginia’s virus issues forced her game against SMU at the Fenway Bowl to be canceled; Hawaii’s roster issue forced the Hawaii Bowl to be canceled against Memphis; Boston College was forced to abandon the Military Bowl against East Carolina; and Texas A&M was replaced by Rutgers in the Gator Bowl against No.20 Wake Forest after the Aggies’ roster was affected by a lack of available staff.

Miami ends the 2021 season with a 7-5 record (5-3 ACC). After the regular season ended, the Hurricanes abruptly fired Diaz and then hired former Hurricanes star Mario Cristobal away from Oregon as their next coach.

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