“I am gutted for our team and for our fans,” Locksley said in a statement. “This team is eager to play and compete and continue the growth we’ve seen this season. This virus is testing our players and coaches right now, but I have no doubt that we will emerge as a stronger unit for having gone through this together. As for me personally, I am feeling strong, with only minor symptoms. I will continue to lead this program virtually and our game preparations for Indiana will begin immediately.”
Maryland also had to cancel its game against No. 3 Ohio State last Saturday after eight players tested positive for the virus. The football team has now had 23 players test positive in a two-week span.
The Terps paused team activities last Wednesday and have not practiced since. Last Wednesday evening, the team moved into a nearby hotel to create a pseudo bubble while players continued to be tested daily. The players left the hotel as planned Sunday, but the team has not been able to return to practice.
The Terps have previously dealt with outbreaks within the athletic department since teams began returning to campus this summer. The football program paused workouts in early July after nine athletes and staff members tested positive. The athletic department had a spike in cases in early September when 46 athletes, spanning 10 teams, tested positive for the coronavirus. Since the summer, 135 out of roughly 550 Maryland athletes have tested positive.
As the number of cases spikes throughout the country, college football programs have struggled to keep the virus at bay. Fifteen games set for the weekend of Nov. 14, including Maryland’s matchup with Ohio State, had to be postponed or canceled. Ten FBS games disappeared from the schedule because of the coronavirus the week prior. Before that, the number of disrupted games in one week had yet to reach double digits.
Some major conferences have scrambled to reschedule missed games, but that task is becoming increasingly difficult as the season progresses and the list of games needing to be made up grows each week. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have no room on their schedules to do so. Those conferences started the season much later compared to their Power Five peers, so the Big Ten planned to play nine games in nine weeks while the Pac-12 will attempt seven games in seven weeks.
Wisconsin is the only other school in the Big Ten that has canceled games this season because of the virus. When the Badgers had an outbreak in their athletic department, they missed games against Nebraska and Purdue before returning to play last weekend.