Sun Bowl, Scheduled for New Year's Eve, Up In Air As Miami Enters COVID Protocol

The Sun Bowl, the second oldest college football bowl game behind the Rose Bowl, could be in jeopardy to be played on its December 31 scheduled date as several members of the Miami Hurricanes football team have tested positive for COVID, and the team entered COVID protocols, the team announced Tuesday.

Miami is scheduled to play Washington State in El Paso, Texas, in the bowl game, and Miami is set to speak with Sun Bowl officials over next steps Wednesday morning, according to The Miami Herald.

The team did not announce a number of players or staff that have tested positive or are in the protocols, but the Herald reported it was "more than a few, but not anything close to half the team.

"The university remains committed to its goal of participating" in the bowl game, the Hurricanes said in a statement, "while ensuring the continued health and safety of its student-athletes, coaches and staff."

The team was scheduled to travel to El Paso on December 26 and resume practice Tuesday, but switched to a virtual walkthrough following the positive test results, according to the Herald.

Sun Bowl committee chairman John Folmer told the Herald they will have more information after the meeting Wednesday, but they are prepared for any situation.

"We'll find out tomorrow,'' Folmer told the Miami Herald. "It's not about you or me. It's about those players and the families that travel here. It's all about the health and safety of them and our community. "Having said that, we want everyone to know we're expecting to have a good football game. If their doctors make a decision that they can't come as early as they had planned, we'll welcome them whenever," Folmer said.

Miami Hurricanes, Washington State, Sun Bowl, COVID
The Hurricanes participation in the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl against Washington State could be in jeopardy after the university announced Tuesday that several players tested positive for COVID. Above, a general view of the Miami Hurricanes helmet with a gray facemask during the game against the FIU Golden Panthers in the second half at Marlins Park on November 23, 2019, in Miami, Florida. Mark Brown/Getty Images

Officials in El Paso said earlier this week that their city has seen a COVID-19 positivity rate of about 15 percent in the past week.

The announcement from Miami's football team comes amid a spate of other COVID-related announcements across college and professional sports.

Meanwhile, just as was the case with Miami's women's basketball team earlier this week when it had to take a forfeit loss against Atlantic Coast Conference rival Duke because of virus issues, COVID-19 concerns at Georgetown and Boston College have caused both teams to suffer forfeits in their conference standings.

Boston College's men's basketball game at Wake Forest scheduled for Wednesday is canceled in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Georgetown's game Wednesday at No. 22 Providence is also canceled in the Big East.

The leagues announced the cancellations Tuesday. In both cases, the forfeits will count only in the league standings and won't affect the overall record.

In the ACC, Boston College's next scheduled game is December 29 at home against Florida State. Wake Forest is also scheduled to play that day at Louisville, which paused team activities Monday due to multiple positive tests and had to cancel its rivalry game with No. 20 Kentucky.

In the Big East, Georgetown—coached by former Hoyas and NBA great Patrick Ewing—is scheduled to play next Tuesday at Creighton. Providence hosts No. 15 Seton Hall on December 29.

Elsewhere, Michigan, said its game against Purdue Fort Wayne for Tuesday night is canceled due to protocols for the Mastodons program, while Grand Canyon canceled its game against Nevada on Tuesday due to COVID-19 protocols within the Antelopes' program with no plans to reschedule.

Coppin State canceled two road games—Thursday against George Mason and December 29 against Indiana State—due to positive tests within its program. The Eagles are due to return to action January 8 at South Carolina State to open Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play.

Memphis (6-4) is on a break after COVID-19 issues forced the Tigers to cancel last weekend's game against then-No.18 Tennessee in Nashville with an announcement coming within 75 minutes of the scheduled tip time. Memphis also had to postpone Tuesday night's scheduled game with Alabama State.

In a statement, the school said it expects to resume activities Monday barring additional positive COVID-19 tests.

In women's basketball, eighth-ranked Indiana said its Tuesday game against Wright State is canceled due to positive tests within the Wright State program. The game will not be made up.

Wright State had now played once since November 24 and had two Horizon League losses by forfeit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Miami Hurricanes, Washington State, Sun Bowl, COVID
Ewing's Georgetown team is playing as several teams around college basketball and football, including the University of Miami Hurricanes, deal with COVID issues affecting their schedules. Above, Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Syracuse, Saturday, in Washington. Nick Wass/Associated Press