Warde Manuel was not happy with what ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit had to say about Michigan football on Tuesday. The Michigan athletic director spoke about the comments on MGoBlue TV on Wednesday to discuss Saturday's cancellation of the game against Maryland. He was asked about Herbstreit's comments indicating the team has "waived the white flag" on the season and not play undefeated Ohio State.
"I think it's ridiculous," Manuel said as reported by 247Sports. "I have to pause because of my words. I was angered, infuriated by the insinuation that Michigan would do anything other than play a football game. We've been playing this game since 1879. 1879. We're the winningest program for a reason because we play whoever is in front of us. 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."
Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback said on the College Football Playoff rankings show on Tuesday night that Michigan might "wave the white flag" to potentially no take on Ohio State next week. "Michigan could opt out basically of that game and keep Ohio State out of six games to qualify for the Big Ten championship. That doesn’t make sense to me. But that could potentially happen next week," he said on the show as reported by Yahoo Sports.
After Herbstreit made the comments, he went to Twitter to apologize. "I made some comments about Michigan and the potential of them waving a white flag and intentionally trying to avoid playing Ohio State by saying, ‘Hey we have too many cases, and we’re going to opt out.’ I had no business at all saying that,” Herbstreit stated. “I have no evidence of that. It was completely unfair to the University of Michigan, to Jim Harbaugh, to his players and coaches, and I just wanted to apologize."
Michigan decided to cancel its game against Maryland due to COVID-19 concerns. "We have seen an increase in the number of student-athletes unavailable to compete due to positive tests and associated contact tracing due to our most recent antigen and PCR testing results," Manuel said in a statement per Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic. The team is currently 2-4 on the year.