Harbaugh Disappointed In Big Ten's Decision: 'We Have Shown We Could Meet The Challenge'

Jim Harbaugh's plea for football this fall went unanswered. The Big Ten announced Tuesday it has suspended fall sports indefinitely due to COVID-19.

In a statement released shortly thereafter, Harbaugh voiced his disappointment in the decision. He felt his program's ability to contain the virus since players returned to campus in June was proof that a football season was feasible this fall. 

"Our student-athletes and coaches want to compete," Harbaugh said. "They have committed, trained and prepared their entire lives for this opportunity, and I know how much they’re disappointed at this time. I share in their disappointment today.

"We have shown over the weeks since returning to campus that we could meet the challenge and provide our student-athletes the opportunity of a fall football season.

"Our football team, our coaching staff, our support staff in Schembechler Hall have all stepped up, followed every rule, and done everything in their power magnificently to give all the opportunity to compete. I am extremely proud, thankful and appreciative of our team and how they have conducted and represented our program and university." 

Harbaugh referenced Michigan's encouraging COVID-19 numbers in a statement aimed at salvaging the season Monday, including the fact that each of the last 353 tests for the football team came back negative. 

"It is proven that the conduct, discipline and structure within our program have led to these stellar results," he said. "We respect the challenge that the virus has presented however we will not cower from it." 

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker also responded to the suspension of the 2020 season on Tuesday. It would have been his first at the helm for the Spartans. 

"The uncertainties caused by COVID-19 have created enormous stress for our players and their families and I am proud of their resilience," he said. "Our coaches and staff will continue to support their drive, dreams and decisions. 

"While the conclusion to postpone the season is not easy for anyone, based on the medical recommendations, I respect the decision of the Big Ten Conference. When the medical experts tell us that we can get back to business, we'll be ready. Until then, stay safe and Go Green."