Friday’s Apple Cup between UW Huskies, WSU Cougars canceled
There will be no Apple Cup meeting between the UW Huskies and WSU Cougars on its customary date of the day after Thanksgiving.
The Pac-12 announced Sunday afternoon that the rival clash scheduled for next Friday, Nov. 27 at WSU’s Martin Stadium in Pullman has been called off and ruled a no contest. Both schools said in statements that they hope to reschedule the game for later this year, however.
The game has been called off because the Cougars are under the required number of scholarship players available to play due to multiple COVID-19 cases, which also resulted in their scheduled Saturday game against Stanford being canceled and deemed a no contest.
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) November 22, 2020
“After assessing the overall status of our football program, we remain under the minimum threshold of 53 available scholarship student-athletes and cannot forecast a scenario that allows us to reach that threshold by the end of the week,” WSU athletic director Pat Chun said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “Earlier today I communicated with President Schulz, Commissioner Scott and Washington Director of Athletics Jen Cohen (about) our current situation. While this is another heartbreaking week for our football program, the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches and staff remains our top priority.”
He added: “We will continue to communicate with the Pac-12 Conference and UW if any scenario would emerge that would allow us to reschedule the game at a later point in the season.”
Cohen also released a statement: “This is so disappointing for our players, coaches and staff, as well as Husky Nation as we were all looking forward to the Boeing Apple Cup this week. This is one of the best rivalries in college sports and every year we circle this game at the start of the season. We will work with Pac-12 to prioritize this game and look into any opportunities to play it should there be an open date for both schools down the road. We also understand that the Pac-12, in conjunction with local and state officials, developed policies that placed the health and safety of students, coaches and staff as the top priority. We want to provide an opportunity for our football program to compete this weekend and are working to find another opponent.”
BYU has been a rumored fit for UW to play next weekend in place of the Apple Cup. ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura tweeted Sunday that BYU has “resisted” the idea, and Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports reported Sunday evening that BYU had “turned down the opportunity to play Washington.” Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports followed up with a report that suggested the situation is a bit more complicated than that, as UW would have to play an in-conference opponent if a Pac-12 team comes available, and BYU would want a guarantee a game with Washington would occur even if a Pac-12 team was open to play the Huskies.
Source: Some context on the potential BYU-Washington game. BYU is interested in playing, but only if they can lock in a contract immediately. They are concerned that Pac-12 will make UW play Utah on Sunday if ASU can't play. "If we can get a game locked in, we want to play."
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 23, 2020
The cancellation delays the first Apple Cup meeting between the two teams since Jimmy Lake took over as UW head coach and Nick Rolovich began his tenure as WSU head coach.
While the news is shocking, it was hardly a surprise after Chun confirmed Friday that WSU’s football team had nine positive COVID-19 cases with the knowledge that a 14-day period is needed before they could be available to play again due to the Pac-12’s COVID-19 protocols.
The Apple Cup has been played every year since 1945, when two games were held after a hiatus from the series in 1943 and 1944 during World World II.
This is the second canceled game of the season for both UW and WSU. The Huskies were unable to play their scheduled opener against Cal after the Bears program had a positive COVID-19 test in the week leading up to the game.
Washington won a home game at Husky Stadium against Arizona 44-27 on Saturday night to improve to 2-0. Washington State is 1-1 after winning its opener against Oregon State and losing the next week against Oregon.