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Miami Hurricanes withdraw from 2021 Sun Bowl due to COVID-19 issues

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This story originally appeared on CBS Sports.

Miami has withdrawn from the Sun Bowl due to COVID-19 protocols, the program announced on Sunday. The Hurricanes were set to square off with Washington State on Friday, December 31 in El Paso, Texas.

"We are extremely disappointed that our football team will be unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl. But due to the number of COVID-19 cases impacting our roster we do not have enough student-athletes to safely compete, and the health and safety of our student-athletes will always be our top priority," said Jennifer Strawley, the university's deputy athletic director.

"This team worked hard all season to earn a bowl invitation and my heart goes out to our student-athletes, especially our seniors. I also want to thank Interim head coach Jess Simpson and our football staff for all of their efforts in preparation for this bowl game."

Washington State has already arrived in El Paso for the Sun Bowl festivities. With a few days remaining until the annual postseason game, there's still some time for a replacement opponent to be found for the Cougars. 

"It is disappointing news that the University of Miami is unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl," read a statement from Washington State. "We will work with the Pac-12 Conference and the Sun Bowl Association to hopefully find a replacement opponent for the game. 

Miami is the fifth team to withdraw from a bowl game this season due to COVID-19 protocols or a lack of available players on the roster. The Hurricanes are now the third team from the ACC to pull out from a bowl game. 

Miami Hurricanes
A photo of a Miami Hurricanes helmet on October 16, 2021. Grant Halverson / Getty

Virginia's virus-related issues forced the cancellation of its game vs. Southern Methodist University in the Fenway Bowl. Hawaii's roster issues forced the cancellation of its game against Memphis in the Hawaii Bowl. Boston College was forced to scrap the Military Bowl vs. East Carolina, and Rutgers will now face No. 20 Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl after Texas A&M was impacted by a lack of available personnel.

Miami finishes the 2021 season with a record of 7-5 (5-3 ACC). Following the conclusion of the regular season, the Hurricanes abruptly fired coach Manny Diaz and hired former Hurricanes star Mario Cristobal away from Oregon as their next coach.

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