- The University of Connecticut announced on Wednesday that its football team is canceling its 2020 season .
- The Huskies are the first FBS program to suspend its 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- UConn left the American Atlantic Conference on July 1, 2020 and was set to compete as an independent during the 2020-21 season.
The University of Connecticut Department of Athletics announced on Wednesday that its football program will be canceling all competition for the school year 2020-21. In a statement, Director of Athletics David Bennett said that the current coronavirus pandemic situation puts its student-athletes at an “unacceptable level of risk.”
After receiving guidance from state and public health officials and consulting with football student-athletes, we’ve decided that @UConnFootball will not compete on the gridiron this season. https://t.co/R5dLlnFNo9
— UConn Huskies (@UConnHuskies) August 5, 2020
First FBS Program To Cancel 2020 Season
UConn was one of the few teams in college football to complete its spring training schedule. The team is in the campus and since early July no student-athlete has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. But with the restrictions brought about by the pandemic outbreak, the opportunity to train as a team has become limited. Despite this, the school said that members of the football team will continue to be enrolled in virtual or face-to-face classes. They will also be given access to facilities and support services to ensure that they stay on track academically.
Four of UConn’s scheduled games for the 2020 season have already been cancelled by their opponents’ leagues. Road games against Illinois and Ole Miss were called off. Home games versus Indiana and FCS rival Maine have been erased from the schedule. Their status of their games against Virginia and North Carolina were also questionable.
“We’ve done the things necessary to put ourselves in a position to be able to play this season. But as we continued through this process it became evident that we weren’t going to be able to do that. 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.”
Preparing For 2021
The Huskies finished the 2019 season with a 2-10 record, including 0-8 in league play. They have not seen a winning season since 2010, Edsall’s last before transferring to Maryland. That season, he steered UConn to an 8-5 record, a share of the Big East title, and an appearance at the Fiesta Bowl. Since returning for a second tour of duty three years ago, Edsall has posted a subpar 6-30 win-loss record. The 61-year old bench tactician said they will use the canceled season to prepare for 2021:
UConn was an original member of the Big East in 1979 but left the league in 2013 after the Big East’s seven basketball-focused private schools formed the new Big East. They ended up with the American Atlantic Conference (ACC) together with former Big East members Cincinnati, Temple, and South Florida. Last July 1, UConn officially left the AAC to re-enter the Big East. It will be rejoining the league in all sports except football, hockey, and rowing. The Huskies’ football team was set to compete as an independent in 2020.
The University of Connecticut has one of the poorest Athletics Department in the FBS. In 2018, the university declared a revenue of around $79M. Almost half of that came from institutional support and student fees and only about $2.4M were from football ticket sales.