- UConn is the first FBS team to cancel their 2020 college football season.
- The primary reason for the cancellation are the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- As an independent, scheduling is also a contributing factor.
The University of Connecticut has canceled their 2020 football season. The school’s athletic department announced on Wednesday that its football program will cancel all competition for the 2020-21 school year. UConn is the first FBS team to cancel their season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Huskies were expected to play the 2020 season as an independent and that further informed the decision not to play football this years. Four games on the UConn schedule had already been cancelled. Out were road games at Illinois and Ole Miss and home games against Indiana and Maine all cancelled due to scheduling decisions by the other leagues. The Atlantic Coast Conference is expected to modify the 2020 football schedule which would have likely eliminated games at Virginia and North Carolina.
Athletic Director David Benedict commented in the press release announcing the cancellation that the level of risk didn’t justify trying to play the 2020 season:
“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. The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.”
“The necessary measures needed to mitigate risk of football student-athletes contracting the coronavirus are not conducive to delivering an optimal experience for our team. Ultimately, the student-athletes would rather preserve their year of eligibility with an eye to competing under more typical circumstances during the 2021 season.”
Head coach Randy Edsall gave his thoughts on the cancellation:
“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. 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.”
The Huskies could definitely use some ‘player development’. UConn went 2-10 last year in their final season in the AAC. They’re a combined 9-39 over the past four seasons and haven’t had a winning record since going 8-5 in 2010.
The players on the UConn football team released a joint statement of support for the decision:
“As a team we are in full support of the decision to not compete in 2020. 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 & 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 school said that it would consult with the Big East Conference before making a decision on other fall sports.