Georgia Tech-Miami game cancellation ends regular season

Georgia Tech’s regular season is over. The Yellow Jackets informed the ACC and Miami on Friday that they will not be able to play the Hurricanes in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Dec. 19 because of their inability to meet the conference’s game discontinuation guidelines related to COVID-19.

The conference made the announcement Friday night, a day after Tech’s 34-20 home loss to Pittsburgh.

“This afternoon, we informed Miami and the ACC that based on today’s medical report from chief medical officer Dr. Angelo Galante, it would not be in the best interests of our student-athletes for us to attempt to play a game next Saturday,” Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury said in a statement. “As always, the health and safety of our student-athletes is our top priority. We felt that it was only right to let Miami and the ACC know as early as possible, and we appreciate their understanding.”

The league’s game discontinuation guidelines call for teams to have “an adequate number of players from its original full roster” and at least seven available scholarship offensive linemen. Largely through injuries but also through COVID-related protocol, coach Geoff Collins’ roster had become thin at multiple positions, including quarterback, wide receiver and defensive end. An injury to quarterback Jeff Sims suffered late in Thursday’s game may have helped push the Jackets into a position where the available roster was deemed inadequate.

Throwing from the pocket in the game’s final minute, Sims was brought hard to the turf and was slow to get up. With Sims sidelined, Tech was left with only one available scholarship quarterback, Jordan Yates, as Tucker Gleason was not available. (James Graham put his name in the transfer portal earlier in the season.)

After the Pitt game, Collins wouldn’t directly address his team’s capacity to play Miami, but acknowledged that “there are a lot of positions that are very thin.”

When the ACC issued its revised schedule in August, the Tech-Miami game was scheduled for Nov. 21. But, the week of the game, it was pushed back to Dec. 19 because of COVID-related protocols within the Miami team. It was the second Tech game to be postponed, following the Pitt game that originally was to be played Nov. 14 but was delayed until Thursday.

The cancellation ends the Jackets’ regular season at 3-7 and 3-6 in ACC play. The team has not closed the door on playing in a bowl game if the team’s health and safety would allow it and an invitation is received. The standard bowl regulations requiring teams to have .500 records to be bowl-eligible have been waived this year.