The University of Connecticut has canceled its 2020 football season amid growing concerns surrounding Covid-19.
With Wednesday’s announcement from the school, the Huskies became the first FBS team to suspend its program due to the global pandemic.
“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 Director of Athletics David Benedict said in a news release.
“The safety challenges created by Covid-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.”
The domino effect
As the first domino to fall, UConn’s decision is likely to trigger a chain reaction felt across the college football landscape.
Four of the team’s scheduled games — home tilts versus Indiana and Maine, as well as road contests at Illinois and Mississippi — had already been canceled by those schools’ conferences. Wednesday’s news wipes out eight additional games, including matchups with Atlantic Coast Conference schools Virginia and North Carolina that were already in question.
Last month Connecticut left the American Athletic Conference and the Huskies were slated to compete as an independent in 2020.
“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,” said Huskies head coach Randy Edsall in the school’s release.
Last season Connecticut finished 2-10 overall, with an 0-8 mark in league play. The program’s focus now shifts to 2021.
“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,” said Edsall.
By forgoing the 2020 campaign, UConn’s athletes retain their year of eligibility. Meanwhile, football players remain enrolled in school and will continue to have access to services and facilities so as to remain on track academically despite the pigskin hiatus.
The school says it’s been nearly a month since any student-athlete has tested positive for coronavirus.