Aug. 5 (UPI) — The University of Connecticut on Wednesday became the first Football Bowl Subdivision school to cancel its 2020 football season due to the coronavirus.
“After receiving guidance from state and public health officials and consulting with football student-athletes, we’ve decided that we will not compete on the gridiron this season,” UConn athletic director David Benedict said.
“The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.”
UConn left the American Athletic Conference in July to join the Big East, but the move does not include the school’s football program. The Huskies were expected to compete in 2020 as an independent football squad.
Four games on the Huskies’ 2020-2021 schedule had already been canceled after conferences that included Illinois, Ole Miss, Indiana and Maine made changes to their schedules due to the pandemic.
Members of the Huskies football team will remain full-time students at UConn. The Huskies began spring practice Feb. 4, but cited limited opportunities to condition and train as part of their decision to cancel the season.
“As a team we are in full support of the decision to not compete in 2020,” Huskies football players said in a statement. “We have many health concerns and not enough is known about the potential long-term effects of contracting COVID-19.
“Additionally, we have not had the optimal time to train mentally and physically to be properly prepared to compete this season. We love this game and love competing. We came to campus in the beginning of July knowing there would be challenges presented by the pandemic, but it is apparent to us now that these challenges are impossible to overcome.”
The team has been on campus since early July and has reported no positive COVID-19 tests for student athletes.
“We engaged and listened to the concerns of our football student-athletes and feel this is the best decision for their health, safety, and well-being,” Huskies coach Randy Edsall said. “Our team is united in this approach and we will use this time to further player development within the program and gear ourselves to the 2021 season.”