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Miami withdraws from Sun Bowl game against WSU due to COVID-19

If they are unable to find a replacement, the game will be forfeited.

EL PASO, Texas — The Miami Hurricanes announced on Sunday they will not be playing in the upcoming Sun Bowl due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the program, according to officials.

Miami was set to play against Washington State University (WSU) in the game on Friday.

The news of Miami's withdraw comes as the Cougs land in El Paso six days prior to the game.

It is not known if Sun Bowl officials will be able to find a replacement to play against Washington State, but the event's executive director Bernie Olivas said it is not likely. 

"I think it's too late to start looking," Olivas said.

If they are unable to find a replacement, the game will be forfeited.

Olivas told KREM on Sunday that Miami's COVID-19 numbers were trending down but added that Miami players were allowed to go home for the holidays.

Washington State Football issued a statement on the cancellation on behalf of WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun via Twitter:

It is disappointing news that the University of Miami is unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl. We will work with the Pac-12 Conference and the Sun Bowl Association to hopefully find a replacement opponent for the game.

Miami said the team is "extremely disappointed" that they will not be able to play in the Sun Bowl but said the health and safety of players is their top priority, stating in part:

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 Hurricanes originally planned to arrive in El Paso, TX on Thursday, Dec. 30, one day before the bowl game, according to the Sun Bowl Association.

Both the Hurricanes and Cougars were expected to arrive in Texas on Sunday, Dec. 26, which the Cougs did.

“The University of Miami remains fully committed to its goal of participating in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl on Friday, Dec. 31 against Washington while ensuring the continued health and safety of its student-athletes, coaches and staff,” read part of a statement.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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