Miami withdraws from 2021 Sun Bowl vs. Washington State due to COVID-19 issues within Hurricanes program


Miami has withdrawn from the Sun Bowl due to COVID-19 protocols, the program announced on Sunday. The Hurricanes were set to square off with Washington State on Friday, Dec. 31 at noon ET on CBS in El Paso, Texas.

“We are extremely disappointed that our football team will be unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl,” Miami deputy athletic director Jennifer Strawley said in a statement. “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.”

Washington State has already arrived in El Paso for the Sun Bowl festivities. With a few days remaining until the annual postseason game, time — though very little — remains for a replacement opponent to be found for the Cougars. 

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

Miami is the fifth team to withdraw from a bowl game this season due to COVID-19 protocols, players opting out and/or injuries that diminish the number of available players on the roster. The ‘Canes are the third team from the ACC alone to pull out from a bowl game on Sunday. 

Virginia’s virus-related issues forced the cancellation of its game vs. SMU in the Fenway Bowl; Hawaii’s roster issue forced the cancellation of the Hawaii Bowl vs. Memphis; Boston College was forced to scrap the Military Bowl vs. East Carolina; and Texas A&M was replaced by Rutgers in the Gator Bowl vs. No. 20 Wake Forest after the Aggies’ roster was impacted by a lack of available personnel. 

Miami finishes the 2021 season with a record of 7-5 (5-3 ACC). Following the conclusion of the regular season, the Hurricanes abruptly fired coach Manny Diaz and subsequently hired former Hurricanes star Mario Cristobal away from Oregon as their next coach. 


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