Kirk Herbstreit made a bold allegation on Tuesday night during ESPN’s College Football Playoff show that he quickly took back.
The ESPN analyst, in a discussion about games being affected by COVID spikes across the country, said that he had spoken with coaches around the country that say they “really feel teams are opting out to avoid playing games because they don’t want to get humiliated. They don’t want to lose with the team that they have.”
He even seemed to suggest that Michigan, which paused all team activities on Monday due to COVID concerns, would “wave the white flag” in order to avoid playing Ohio State next Saturday – which would make the Buckeyes ineligible for the Big Ten championship game.
After facing some backlash on his comments, Herbstreit posted a video on Twitter apologizing and saying that he misspoke.
“I had no business at all saying that. I had no evidence of that. It’s completely unfair to University of Michigan, so I just want to apologize,” Herbstreit, a former Ohio State QB, said. “I think we all go through ups and downs, many downs for a lot of people in this covid crisis we’re all in. In college football, I really struggle with where we are. Players opting out. Teams canceling games. Just seems like it’s a downward spiral.”
Herbstreit added that he tries to stay positive, but thinks he hit a breaking point with all the negativity surrounding the sport.
“I misspoke. I apologize,” he continued. “I think I was more saying ‘this is what’s happening around the country.’ It was completely uncalled for to suggest Michigan was potentially doing that. I have absolutely no evidence of that. To Michigan, the fans, and especially Jim Harbaugh, I hope everyone is OK in regard to COVID.”