“Great news today,” Harbaugh said in a statement released by the athletic department. “Over the past month, I could sense the anticipation from our players and coaches, and I’m thrilled on their behalf that they will have a chance to play a 2020 season. Stay positive. Test negative. Let’s play football.”
Harbaugh was adamant this summer that football should be played. He previously released a letter Aug. 10 (one day before the initial postponement) explaining his reasoning, citing his team’s testing results and COVID-19 protocols.
During the recent protest on Michigan’s campus, Harbaugh said his hope was that the Wolverines could return to play “as soon as we possibly can.”
“We’re ready to play,” Harbaugh said Sept. 5. “We’d be ready — we’re gonna be ready to play a game in two weeks. Get the pads on and our guys have trained without a pause since June 15. So that’s our position. We’re ready to play as soon as we possibly can play.”
Michigan president Mark Schlissel, who was both part of the initial vote to postpone football and this week’s vote to return to competition, also released a statement Wednesday morning.
“I want to share my support for the Big Ten decision to begin football competition next month,” Schlissel wrote. “I join Athletic Director Warde Manuel and everyone at Michigan Athletics in offering appreciation for all the athletes and coaches, the fans and the families who have been preparing for the possibility of playing in the Big House this fall.
“Earlier I expressed my concern, shared by my fellow Big Ten presidents and chancellors, that we just didn’t know enough about the health and safety concerns unique to intercollegiate athletics to move forward with practices and competition.
“As has been so true during this pandemic, we continue to learn more every day and we have adjusted our approach based on the new information that was developed. I especially want to thank the health and safety officials from the Big Ten campuses who have carefully assessed the risk and developed a stringent plan – that will include daily COVID-19 testing — to mitigate those risks for our student-athletes, coaches and others. While this approach will start with football, our hope is to use this same approach to resume competition in other sports.
“To our millions of fans worldwide, I again thank you for your understanding and your patience. Your support of our teams and our student-athletes is inspiring.”