CMU will play Washington State in Sun Bowl after Arizona Bowl cancellation

CMU players tackle Kent State's quarterback Dustin Crum during CMU's 54-30 win against Kent State Nov. 10 at the Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

After landing in Tucson and preparing to play Boise State in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, CMU  has a new bowl game destination and opponent. 

Hours after learning Boise State could not play in the Arizona Bowl, the Chippewas will make a four-hour commute to El Paso, Texas to play Washington State in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl. 

The game is set for noon on Friday, Dec. 31 at Sun Bowl Stadium. It will be broadcast on CBS. 

The Chippewas were released from their bowl game obligation in Arizona by the Mid-American Conference after it was announced their opponent, Boise State, could not play due to COVID issues within its program.

”A big thanks to the Arizona Bowl for their incredible hospitality,“ said CMU athletic director Amy Folan in a statement. “This community is fantastic, the bowl committee is a first class operation, and we are grateful for everything they have done for us. Thank you for a great experience in Tucson. We are looking forward to getting to El Paso and taking part in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl.” 

The Arizona Bowl was officially canceled Monday evening, with news breaking moments later that the Chippewas would be traveling east to play Washington State. The Arizona Bowl is the fourth to be canceled due to COVID-19 issues in 2021.

A spot in the Sun Bowl opened up when Miami, Washington State's original opponent, was forced to withdraw due to complications with COVID-19. 

Central Michigan Life has reached out to CMU Athletics to ask about financials. The Sun Bowl is broadcast on CBS and is scheduled to distribute more than $4.5 million to each school. The Arizona Bowl was set to pay $350,000 to the participating schools. 

Washington State, a member of the Pac-12 conference, finished its regular season 7-5 and second in the Pac-12 North Division. 

The Sun bowl is the first-ever meeting between these two schools.

This story will be updated after a press conference with Head Coach Jim McElwain at 1 p.m. on Dec. 29.