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The Big Ten Conference announced a decision to eliminate the minimum-game requirement for the 2020 Big Ten Football Championship Game Wednesday, just one day after Ohio State was made ineligible by Michigan's cancellation of its game with the Buckeyes.
The Administrators Council voted in favor of the decision that allows Ohio State to now advance to the championship game against Northwestern on Dec. 19.
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“The decision was based on a competitive analysis which determined that Ohio State would have advanced to the Big Ten Football Championship Game based on its undefeated record and head-to-head victory over Indiana regardless of a win or loss against Michigan,” the statement read.
Ohio State’s dreams of playing against Northwestern for the Big Ten title were put on hold Tuesday after Michigan announced its decision to cancel “The Game” this weekend after the team’s total cases of COVID reportedly jumped to around 16.
“We have not been cleared to participate in practice at this time. Unfortunately, we will not be able to field a team due to COVID-19 positives and the associated quarantining required of close contact individuals,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said.
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“This decision is disappointing for our team and coaches, but their health and safety is paramount, and it will always come first in our decision-making.”
The conference determined before the season that teams would have to play six of their eight scheduled games to qualify for the championship. But Ohio State — No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings and the conference's best team — already missed three games because of COVID-19 issues.
Tuesday’s cancellation left it just one game shy of qualifying.
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The decision to remove the requirement represents how the conference said it “remains flexible” in “these unprecedented times.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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