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Oregon to replace UW in Pac-12 title game Friday

The University of Washington will not play in Friday’s Pac-12 championship game, the conference announced Monday.

SEATTLE — Oregon will replace the University of Washington in the Pac-12 championship game against the University of Southern California on Friday, the conference announced Monday morning.

The Huskies were replaced for not having “the minimum 53 scholarship student-athletes available for the game nor the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes at a position group” due to having positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing, the conference said.

Oregon has the next best record in the North Division and will face the South Division Champion USC.

"I am crushed for our student-athletes, coaches and staff who have worked tirelessly to find a healthy way to compete this season,” said Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen. “Husky student-athletes come to Washington to compete for championships, so this one really hurts for everyone involved — our students, our coaches and our community of loyal Husky fans and alumni.”

Last weekend’s Huskies game against Oregon was canceled after the team reported an increase in positive COVID-19 tests within the program. The UW football team paused “all team-related football activities" last week due to an increase in positive COVID-19 tests.

"Since discovering a handful of cases within our program last week, we have taken pro-active steps, including immediately pausing all football-related activities in our program to try to mitigate the further spread of the virus,” said Dr. Kim Harmon, UW’s head football team physician. “Unfortunately, we have continued to see positive cases over the course of the last several days which has continued our pause of activities and ability to return to the practice field.”

The UW won the Pac-12 North with a 3-1 record.

“"Our goal every season is to win the Pac-12 Championship. I am so proud of the work our team and staff have put in to position ourselves to attain that goal. Unfortunately, the virus is in our footprint,” said UW Head Football Coach Jimmy Lake. “We have not been able to resume football activities and currently the entirety of one of our key position groups, deemed a critical position group by the Pac-12, is in quarantine. There is no path forward to practice or play this week. Our focus now is getting everyone healthy so we can resume football activities and prepare for a possible bowl game. We are crushed that we cannot bring home the Pac-12 trophy for our fans, staff and players."