Washington AD 'Working Toward Plan' To Keep Football Opener With Michigan

The two schools are doing their best to find a solution. 

Will Burchfield
May 19, 2020 - 2:19 pm

Another year, another highly-anticipated season opener for Michigan. This one comes against Pac-12 power Washington, at Husky Stadium on Sept. 5. 

Question is, will it be played? 

“I really don’t know," Washington athletic director Jen Cohen told the Seattle Times last Friday. "I don’t."

But it sounds like Cohen, along with Michigan AD Warde Manuel, is doing everything she can to make it happen amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus. 

“I’m working towards a plan that we’re still playing that football game," she said. "I was actually just sending messages with Warde this morning. They’re of that same time frame and plan, too. So I think the question to me is as much, ‘What will it look like in the venue?’ as it is whether or not we’re going to play it.

“I just don’t know yet, but I’m hopeful, and our energy and effort are being put into being able to safely bring our kids back to campus so that we can eventually get to a point to have competition.”

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That last point is the most important. It's hard to imagine a scenario where college sports return but college campuses remain closed, something Manuel recently dubbed 'impossible.'

Cohen is of the same belief. 

“Do I think it makes sense or feels right to have a university that’s completely shut down for student services and everything’s online and there’s no students on campus at all, but there’s athletic programs? That seems really foreign to me," she said. "I can’t picture that." 

Jim Harbaugh, who believes his team is 'on the cusp' of big things, has been preparing throughout the offseason as if the season will start on time. 

"I’m not going to give it one thought that it’s not going to happen, because it’s like being a quarterback," he said last month. "I learned that it’s better to be prepared and not have the opportunity, than to not prepare and your opportunity comes and you’re not prepared to do it. You can't have one thought that it won’t happen."

But with each passing day, the 2020 season grows less certain. The first meeting between Michigan and Washington since 2002 is in real danger of being wiped out.

Until then, the two schools will do their best to figure out a solution.