Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Michigan State Spartans to decline bowl bid if invited

Minnesota, Nebraska and Michigan State will not accept invitations to a bowl game, the schools announced Saturday.

The Golden Gophers will finish the season 3-3, following a 20-17 overtime loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. They become the second team in the Big Ten to opt out, with Penn State being the first to do so after their 56-21 win over Illinois.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes has always been our first priority," Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said in a statement. "They invested a tremendous amount of physical and mental energy into competing in the Big Ten season this year and proudly represented Minnesota. The season was filled with daily off-field adversity caused by the pandemic, but their desire to play never wavered and they sacrificed so much in their personal lives to be able to compete in the Maroon and Gold this year. Right now, our focus is strictly on their well-being off the field, and we look forward to them being able to responsibly spend some of the remaining holiday season with family and loved ones. We will return our attention to football when everyone is back on campus in mid-January."

The Golden Gophers had games against Wisconsin and Northwestern canceled this season after a COVID-19 outbreak within the program, which also led to star WR Rashod Bateman to opt out a second time in late November.

Nebraska finished the season 3-5.

"Our players made great sacrifices this fall to allow us to play eight games and practice without disruption throughout the season," said Nebraska head coach Scott Frost in a statement. "As their head coach I am proud of how they continued to fight and finished the season with a win on Friday. This year has been a long grind and it is time for our guys to have a break, and the opportunity to spend Christmas and the holiday season with their family and friends. We will turn our focus to the 2021 season, and we look forward to our players returning to campus for the spring semester in January."

Michigan State finished the season 2-5, with wins over rival Michigan and Northwestern.

"We have decided as a program that the best decision for our team is to prepare for the 2021 season," Michigan State coach Mel Tucker said in a statement. "I'm proud of the players for the way they handled themselves during this difficult and challenging year. They endured a season unlike any we have had before and worked hard to remain diligent in following all of our safety protocols. Our players have been on campus since re-arriving in June and deserve the chance to go home and take some time away from football."