Last week Miami delayed its departure for the game until the day before kickoff in an effort to be able to play. At the time, Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas told ESPN, “We are not absolutely positive they are going to come, but they have told us, and I believe them, they are doing everything they can to play.”
Washington State arrived in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday for Friday’s game.
In a statement, Miami deputy athletics director/chief operating officer Jennifer Strawley said the number of COVID-19 cases affecting the team’s roster made it impossible to play because the Hurricanes don’t have enough players to safely compete.
“We are extremely disappointed that our football team will be unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl,” Strawley said in a statement. “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.”