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Washington halts football activities due to COVID-19, Oregon game in doubt

Dec. 9 (UPI) — The University of Washington has paused football team activities due to an increase in positive COVID-19 cases within the program, the school said Wednesday.

“The team will not practice Wednesday and will undergo additional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing,” the Huskies said in a statement.

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The Huskies are scheduled to play Oregon at 4 p.m. EST Saturday in Eugene, Ore. The winner of the game will decide which team wins the Pac-12’s North Division and appears in the Dec. 18 conference championship game.

Washington said more information regarding that status of the scheduled game against Oregon will be shared “when it becomes available.”

Wednesday’s stoppage marks the first time this season Washington has had to pause team activities. The Huskies’ games against California and Washington State were canceled earlier this year due to COVID-19 cases within those programs.

In other developments, Charlotte on Wednesday announced that its football game against Marshall, scheduled for Friday, has been canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Marshall program.

The American Athletic Conference said Tuesday that Saturday’s Tulsa-Cincinnati football game will not be played due to COVID-19 cases and contract tracing within the Cincinnati program. The conference said Cincinnati and Tulsa remain on track to face off in the AAC championship game Dec. 19.

On Tuesday, Michigan canceled its annual rivalry matchup against Ohio State due to positive COVID-19 cases within its program. Fellow Big Ten team Indiana paused football team activities on Tuesday due to COVID-19 concerns.

The Hoosiers did not practice Tuesday, but still are scheduled to face Purdue on Saturday in Bloomington, Ind. Purdue canceled practice on Tuesday to evaluate results of recent COVID-19 testing within its football program.

“The health and safety of our students, coaches and staff is paramount,” Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson said in a news release. “In consultation with our medical experts, we decided this is the appropriate decision at this time. We will continue to assess the situation moving forward.”

The Hoosiers (6-1) trail Ohio State (5-0) in the Big Ten’s East Division, but are on track to appear in the conference championship game after the Buckeyes final game of the regular season was canceled.

Big Ten rules for the 2020 season require teams to play at least six games to qualify for the conference championship. The Buckeyes sit at No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings; Indiana is No. 12.

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