Miami Out of 2021 Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl vs. Washington State Amid COVID-19 Issues

Erin WalshDecember 27, 2021

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Miami quarterback D'Eriq King (1) looks for a receiver downfield in the first quarter as the University of Miami Hurricanes faced the Michigan State University Spartans on September 18, 2021, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes will not participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl against Washington State because of COVID-19 protocols, the team announced Sunday. 

Miami released an official statement on its website about its withdrawal from the game:

“We are extremely disappointed that our football team will be unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl,” Deputy Director of Athletics/Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Strawley said. “But 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. This team worked hard all season to earn a bowl invitation and my heart goes out to our student-athletes, especially our seniors. I also want to thank Interim Head Coach Jess Simpson and our football staff for all of their efforts in preparation for this bowl game.
“We regret the impact this has on the Washington State program and their postseason experience. I want to commend the Sun Bowl Association for their tireless work in helping us navigate this situation over the past several days. We are grateful for their support as an Atlantic Coast Conference bowl partner.”

The news comes after ESPN's Andrea Adelson reported on Dec. 23 that multiple Hurricanes players had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Adelson also reported that the team's COVID-19 issues would prevent the Hurricanes from traveling to El Paso, Texas, for the matchup until one day before the game was set to be played on Dec. 31. 

In addition, Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas told Adelson the Hurricanes were "doing everything they can to play" in the Sun Bowl. 

"I think they really want to be at the game; the way I understand it their results are headed in the right direction," Olivas said at the time. "We're all optimistic they're going to be here."

Miami finished the season 7-5 and won five of its final six games to reach bowl eligibility and earn a spot in the Sun Bowl. Washington State also finished 7-5 and won three of its final four games. 

The Hurricanes aren't the first major program to pull out of a bowl game this year. COVID-19 and injuries forced Texas A&M to withdraw from the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest.

Other teams to pull out of their respective bowl games include the Virginia Cavaliers, Boston College Eagles and the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.