Miami out of Sun Bowl against Washington State due to COVID-19 issues in football program

Miami will not be able to participate in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl against Washington State because of COVID-19 issues, the school announced Sunday.

The Sun Bowl Association said it is looking for an opponent to face Washington State in the game still scheduled for Friday.

"It is very disappointing that COVID is taking a toll on so many college football teams and bowl games," bowl executive director Bernie Olivas said in a statement. "As of this moment, the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl game has not been cancelled, although the University of Miami has withdrawn from the game. We are currently looking for a possible replacement-team, in the hopes of having one to compete against Washington State."

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. Miami last week had delayed its departure for the game until the day before kickoff in an effort to be able to play.

"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."

Washington State arrived in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday for the game.

Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said in a statement that the school was working with the Pac-12 and the Sun Bowl to "hopefully" find a replacement opponent. Cougars coach Jake Dickert tweeted that his team is "willing to play any opponent" and "just wants one more chance to finish this storied 2021 season."

Miami is the third ACC team to be unable to play its bowl game, joining Boston College (Military Bowl) and Virginia (Fenway Bowl) in making announcements Sunday.