College football COVID-19 update: Indiana-Purdue game called off — again

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Finally and for good, there will be no Old Oaken Bucket game in 2020. 

The rescheduled rivalry meeting between No. 7 Indiana and Purdue has been called off, less than a week after the originally scheduled game was canceled. 

On Tuesday morning, the schools announced a mutual agreement to cancel the game.

A joint statement from Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski and Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson read:

"Upon the advice of our medical professionals and in following the guidelines and protocols established for this season, we are not able to play Friday. As we stated last week, we know the history and tradition of this great rivalry game and how much it means to our current students, alumni and fans. Both universities worked extremely hard in an effort to play, but at this time it just isn't possible. We are certainly disappointed that we cannot play in 2020, but look forward to seeing each other on the field next season and competing once again for the Old Oaken Bucket."

Indiana players celebrate after defeating Purdue, 44-41 in double overtime to win the Old Oaken Bucket, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette. (Photo: Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier)

Both games were lost to ongoing COVID-19 concerns within both programs, which paused football activity last week and have not resumed normal schedules to this point. 

Indiana will finish the regular season 6-1, and await the conclusion of the coming championship weekend to learn its fate, now in the hands of the College Football Playoff committee. If the committee ranks Indiana highly enough — likely somewhere in their top 10, possibly top 12 — then the Hoosiers could be in line for a New Year’s Six bowl. It would be their most high-profile postseason appearance since the 1968 Rose Bowl. 

The committee’s updated rankings will be released Tuesday night. Their final, determinative rankings will land Sunday afternoon. 

Multiple major projections have the Hoosiers in the Fiesta Bowl, facing presumptive Pac-12 champion USC. 

Purdue ends the regular season 2-4. The Boilermakers are bowl eligible, thanks to a one-year rule change in response to the ongoing pandemic. But with the bowl field trimmed by cancellations, it’s unclear whether they’d be in line for a postseason appearance. 

—Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star. 

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