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Miami Hurricanes are the latest team to cancel its bowl appearance as COVID depletes roster

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Mark Wallheiser/AP
The Florida Channel
Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke passes against Florida State on Nov. 13, 2021. Miami said late Sunday it would not play in Friday's Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

Meantime, the College Football Playoff committee announced contingences for the national semifinals - including Miami's Orange Bowl - and national championship, should any of the four teams be unable to compete.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. Dec. 28

For the second year in a row, college bowl games are being canceled as coronavirus case counts climb. Rosters are also depleted by injuries and players either opting out of games or transferring to other schools.

The University of Miami is the latest to pull out, announcing late Sunday that it wouldn't be able to field a team against Washington State in Friday's Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

The Hurricanes were one of three schools that announced they wouldn't participate in bowl games.

The University of Virginia dropped out of Wednesday's Fenway Bowl in Boston "due to the number of COVID cases impacting its roster, preventing safe participation," the bowl said in a statement announcing the game's cancellation.

Also, Military Bowl organizers said the bowl game would be canceled due to a spate of positive coronavirus cases at Boston College, where more than 40 players were unavailable to play.

The Eagles were slated to meet East Carolina University on Monday in in Annapolis, Md., after a parade and festival. All of the events have been canceled.

CFP updates policies for semifinals, title game

Meantime, the College Football Playoff management committee updated its policies for the national championship and semifinals should any team be unable to compete in those games.

The semifinals are slated for Friday in the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens and the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.

The CFP said a semifinal team that doesn't have enough players will forfeit and its opponent will advance to the championship game in Indianapolis. The championship —scheduled for Jan. 10 — can be rescheduled as late as Jan. 14. At that point, any team unable to play will forfeit, leaving the other as champion.

If neither team can play, the CFP said, "then the game shall be declared 'no contest' and the CFP national championship shall be vacated for this season."

Georgia and Michigan are scheduled to meet in the Orange Bowl, while Alabama and Cincinnati are to play in the Cotton Bowl.

Hurricanes say health and safety is the top priority

UM’s deputy athletic director, Jennifer Strawley, expressed disappointment in the Hurricanes’ decision to cancel its Sun Bowl appearance.

"Due to the number of COVID-19 cases impacting our roster we do not have enough student-athletes to safely compete, and the health and safety of our student-athletes will always be our top priority," Strawley said

Washington State will now face Central Michigan University in the Sun Bowl. A day after Miami canceled, CMU lost its bowl opponent on Monday when Boise State had to withdraw from the Arizona Bowl because of its own COVID-19 outbreak.

These are just the latest bowl games dealing with cancellations as the omicron variant of the coronavirus overtakes the country. The University of Hawaii said Thursday that it wouldn't compete against the University of Memphis in last Friday’s Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu.

Also last week, Texas A&M bowed out of Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl "due to a combination of COVID-19 issues within the Texas A&M football program, as well as season-ending injuries," the school said.

But the Gator Bowl will go on with Rutgers University invited as a replacement opponent for Wake Forest University.

"We just don't have enough scholarship players available to field a team," Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said.

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").