Two college football bowl games of local interest have been canceled as COVID-19 surges again nationwide.
The Military Bowl, set to take place Monday in Annapolis, was canceled because of COVID-19 cases on the Boston College Eagles.
“We appreciate everyone who worked so hard to try to make the game happen. Of course, the health and safety of the players and coaches is top priority,” said Steve Beck, Military Bowl president and executive director, in a statement Sunday.
“The decision not to play is understandable, but disappointing.”
The Eagles were expected to play the East Carolina Pirates at Navy-Marine Memorial Stadium.
“Unfortunately, due to cases of COVID-19 rising within our program since our arrival, along with season-ending injuries, opt outs and transfers, we just do not have enough players to field a team,” said Boston College’s athletic director, Pat Kraft. “We are disappointed not to be able to finish the season together as a team, but the health and safety of our program is our highest priority.”
The Military Bowl Parade and the Military Bowl Tailgate Festival, also scheduled for Monday, were canceled as well. Ticket refunds will be offered later this week.
Another upcoming college football bowl game with a local angle — the Wasabi Fenway Bowl in Boston – was also canceled Sunday afternoon, because of a number of COVID cases on the Virginia Cavaliers’ roster.
“We are extremely disappointed the team will not be able to participate in the inaugural Fenway Bowl,” said Virginia athletics director Carla Williams in a statement. “Playing this game was something our team very much looked forward to and it is unfortunate Coach [Bronco] Mendenhall will not have one last opportunity to coach this group.”
According to the university, some players had tested positive after displaying symptoms. That led to the entire team being tested Saturday, and additional players tested positive – so many that it prevented “safe participation” in Wednesday’s game against Southern Methodist University.
“They earned this bowl invitation, and it is unfortunate they will not be able to compete in the game to complete the season,” Williams said. “We regret how this also impacts our fans who were planning on attending the game as well as the SMU program and its fans.”