A day after listening to Kirk Herbstreit suggest that Michigan might use COVID-19 as an excuse to cancel next week's game against Ohio State and keep the Buckeyes out of the Big Ten championship game, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel was still fuming.
"I think it’s ridiculous," Manuel said in a video released Wednesday night by Michigan. "I have to pause, because my words, the anger, I was infuriated by the insinuation that Michigan would do anything other than play a football game. We’ve been playing this game since 1879. 1879. And we’re the winningest program for a reason, because we play whoever’s in front of us. And the only way we want to keep anybody from moving on is to beat them on the fields of play.
"To insinuate that, to say something other than that, is a statement by a fool. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I am for the Big Ten conference to have one of their representatives who played this game say that about any team in this conference. And to say it about college football and the student athletes around this country who are trying to play games during a pandemic, it is ridiculous, insane."
Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback, later apologized for his comments, which he made on ESPN's College Football Playoff show Tuesday night. Michigan has cancelled its game this Saturday against Maryland and paused practice through Monday because of an increase in COVID-19 cases within the program.
"I don’t have anything against Michigan, even though I’m an Ohio State guy," Herbstreit said Wednesday morning on 97.1 The Ticket. "I’m not someone who revels in their struggles, so I didn’t feel good in adding to what they’re dealing with as a school and what Jim (Harbaugh) is dealing with as a coach. So I just thought it was smart to say that I’m sorry, that I was out of line. I didn’t have any evidence of that. I need to be more responsible from a national perspective, and that’s why I did what I said. I was 100 percent wrong."