Warde Manuel explained why Michigan needed to cancel this Saturday’s game at Iowa, painting the image of a very stark situation within the Wolverines football program due to COVID-19.

Calling it a “very unfortunate situation,” Manuel highlighted a health crisis amidst the pandemic that made playing this weekend simply untenable. Michigan (2-4) was set to play at No. 16 Iowa (6-2) this Saturday as part of the Big Ten’s Championship Week.

“In accordance with the Big Ten COVID-19 medical policies and health guidelines, we are without a significant number of players for this week’s game,” said Manuel in a statement.

“Couple that with the normal attrition due to injury, and we do not have enough available players at multiple position groups to field a team at Iowa. We have more student-athletes out this week compared to last week and the week prior.

“The number of positive tests over the past three weeks, which require a 21-day unavailability period, and the contact tracing requirements associated with those numbers has pushed our current list of unavailable student-athletes to over 50.”

Last week, Michigan had to cancel their annual rivalry game against Ohio State due to the coronavirus. That cancellation dropped Ohio State below the minimum threshold to qualify for the Big Ten Championship, causing the conference to step in and grant the Buckeyes eligibility for the game.