Indiana Hoosiers, Purdue Boilermakers won't play Old Oaken Bucket football game

Indiana and Purdue have mutually agreed to cancel their football game Saturday in Bloomington because of an increase in COVID-19 cases at the schools.

In a joint statement, Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson and Purdue counterpart Mike Bobinski expressed their disappointment in having to call off the Old Oaken Bucket rivalry game.

"We both understand the history and tradition of one of the best rivalries in college football, but the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff is our primary priority," the statement said. "We will continue to monitor the situation on both campuses and listen to the advice of our medical professionals."

On Tuesday, Purdue announced it had canceled practice to evaluate the results of recent COVID-19 testing. Roughly five hours later, Indiana announced it was pausing all team-related activities because of its own increase in positive cases. The Hoosiers did not practice Tuesday morning, and all players, Tier I coaches and staff underwent PCR testing.

This was the last scheduled game in the regular season for both programs, and each was set to participate in the Big Ten Champions Week, in which all conference teams would play a cross-division game along with the conference championship.

The Hoosiers were in second place in the East Division after a November loss to Ohio State, but it had been possible they would play in the conference championship because the Buckeyes had not met the minimum six-game threshold set by the conference due to several cancellations.

However, the Big Ten on Wednesday changed its policy that requires a team to play at least six games to gain eligibility for the championship game. As a result, Ohio State will play Northwestern on Dec. 19 for the conference championship.

"Coach (Tom) Allen and I are proud of this team and the success we have had so far this season," Hoosiers athletic director Scott Dolson said in a statement. "We are one of only two teams in the country with three Top-25 victories and have matched a program record for Big Ten wins. Although we understand the conference's decision, we are disappointed. From the start of the year, we have said we can only control what we can control. We had a chance to earn our spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, but ultimately fell a touchdown short on the road against a great Ohio State team. We look forward to resuming activities and completing one of the best seasons in our school's history."