Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh expressed disappointment in the Big Ten's decision to postpone fall sports Tuesday, but he also said the Wolverines did everything in their ability to play this fall.
"Our student-athletes and coaches want to compete," Harbaugh said in a statement. "They have committed, trained and prepared their entire lives for this opportunity, and I know how much they’re disappointed at this time. I share in their disappointment today.
"We have shown over the weeks since returning to campus that we could meet the challenge and provide our student-athletes the opportunity of a fall football season.
"Our football team, our coaching staff, our support staff in Schembechler Hall have all stepped up, followed every rule, and done everything in their power magnificently to give all the opportunity to compete. I am extremely proud, thankful and appreciative of our team and how they have conducted and represented our program and university."
The statement was released after the Big Ten announced all fall sports would be postponed due to COVID-19, with the hopes of playing the football season in spring. Michigan's athletic department announced that it had suspended "all athletic activities, including practices, effective immediately, until further notice," which included team practices for all fall, winter and spring sports.
But about an hour after that announcement, a U-M spokesperson released a revised statement on workouts: "We just received clarity on fall workouts. Athletes are able to continue voluntary workouts immediately, per the NCAA rules."
"For the second time in five months, the Big Ten Conference made the unfortunate but necessary decision to postpone an athletic season in order to protect the health and well-being of our student-athletes, staff, and community members," said athletic director Warde Manuel in a statement. "As a result, all fall sport schedules have been postponed. This latest decision was reached after careful consideration and the grim knowledge that this pandemic continues to affect our country adversely.
"I am deeply saddened for our student-athletes and remain committed to our ongoing promise to provide them with a world-class education. We remain grateful to our global Michigan family for their unwavering support."
Tuesday's news came one day after Harbaugh made a passionate plea to continue with a fall football season, expressing the sentiment that Michigan had provided a safe environment for its players and coaches and citing data that exhibited a small number of positive cases within the football program.