One of the most tumultuous seasons in Michigan football history is now over.
Michigan’s athletic department announced it is canceling the Wolverines game at Iowa on Saturday over COVID-19 concerns after consulting with medical experts, health advisers and university administration.
The lack of available players was one of the reasons for the cancellation.
"In accordance with the Big Ten COVID-19 medical policies and health guidelines, we are without a significant number of players for this week's game," said Warde Manuel, the Michigan athletic director, in a news release. "Couple that with the normal attrition due to injury, and we do not have enough available players at multiple position groups to field a team at Iowa. We have more student-athletes out this week compared to last week and the week prior.”
According to Manuel, more than 50 athletes would not be available by Saturday due to the contract tracing requirements and the 21-day unavailability period for those who tested positive over the last three weeks.
“This is a very unfortunate situation, and we are disappointed that our program will not be able to finish the season against the Hawkeyes,” Manuel said. "I am very proud of the way that our players worked to try and get back onto the field, but the numbers simply don't support us taking the field on Saturday. This has been a very challenging and difficult 2020 for everyone, and we want to make sure we are doing what is right for our student-athletes at every step along the way, and that ultimately is ensuring their health, safety and welfare."
Michigan ends its season at 2-4 and losers of four of its last five. Some of the Wolverines’ more embarrassing performances took place on their home field. They lost as 22-point favorites to rival Michigan State 27-24 before getting decimated in primetime against Wisconsin 49-11. The final loss came to a Penn State team that entered 0-5 — the worst start in Penn State’s history. But the Nittany Lions overpowered Michigan for a 27-17 victory.
Michigan’s shameful performances at home become even worse when you consider the university has been playing football in Ann Arbor since 1883, and this season was the first time the program has never won a game at home.
The Wolverines opened as the sports betting underdog against Iowa, with Michigan a 13-point underdog.
Harbaugh future speculation
Now the attention around Michigan will turn to Jim Harbaugh’s future with the program. There have been reports he and Manuel are working on a contract extension that would include a lower-based salary but have higher payoffs for incentives reached.
Harbaugh’s name has also come up as a potential candidate for an NFL head coaching position, and sportsbooks have taken notice. FanDuel recently moved Harbaugh up Harbaugh was recently listed as one of the favorites to become the next head coach of the Detroit Lions. to become the next head coach of the Detroit Lions at +200, tied with San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
Harbaugh addressed his future in Monday’s weekly press conference.
“My plan is committed to Michigan,” he said. “Have been and will remain. Warde and I will sit down and talk at the end of the season about the current contract. That’s the truth. That’s where I stand.”