The Latest: Independence Bowl canceled; Army in limbo

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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The Independence Bowl won’t be played this season for the first time in over four decades, leaving Army’s postseason prospects in jeopardy.

Army (9-2) already had accepted a bid to play in the Dec. 26 game in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Independence Bowl officials said the number of schools opting out of bowl opportunities due to the pandemic left a lack of teams available to fill all the potential bowl slots.

The Independence Bowl has been played for 44 consecutive years.

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The Birmingham Bowl scheduled for New Year’s Day has been canceled.

Mark Meadows, executive director of the game at Legion Field, made the announcement Sunday citing the number of teams opting out of bowl season because of COVID-19.

“As the inventory of available teams lessened, our ability to stage the game was compromised,” Meadows said.

The game was set to matchup teams from the American Athletic Conference and Southeastern conference.

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Arizona and San Diego have canceled Monday’s men’s basketball game following a positive COVID-19 test in the Toreros’ program.

The programs announced the game last week after Arizona had a nonconference game against California Baptist canceled due to the coronavirus and San Diego lost a game against Long Beach State.

Arizona hosts Montana in its next game on Tuesday.

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The Guaranteed Rate Bowl won’t take place this season due to what organizers cited as “unprecedented ramifications from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The game had been scheduled to take place Saturday in Phoenix. The cancellation announcement comes as numerous college teams have said they aren’t planning to participate in bowl games, a list that Boise State joined Sunday afternoon.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl officials said they expect their game to return for the 2021 season featuring teams from the Big Ten and Big 12.

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LSU says Tuesday night’s men’s basketball game against VCU has been called off because of SEC and NCAA COVID-19 protocols.

This marks the third straight game LSU has been unable to play as scheduled because of protocols related to the coronavirus.

During the past week, LSU also had to postpone games against New Orleans and North Texas.

LSU coach Will Wade said last Monday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, but he declined to say which, if any, players or assistants had tested positive.

LSU is not scheduled to play again until its SEC opener at home against Texas A&M on Dec. 29.

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The men’s basketball game between Utah and Arizona State scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed because of a positive COVID-19 test in the Utes program.

The schools will work with the Pac-12 Conference to reschedule the game.

A decision about Utah’s road games against UCLA and Southern California on Dec. 31 and Jan. 2 will be made later.

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No fans will be allowed inside FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee, to watch either the NBA’s Grizzlies or the Memphis men’s basketball team due to rising COVID-19 cases.

The Grizzlies announced the decision Sunday morning, saying it was consistent with pending recommendations from local health officials. The Grizzlies had been planning to have about 20% capacity inside their arena when their season starts Wednesday with a game against San Antonio. Plan holders will get a credit to their account, while single-game ticket buyers will get refunds.

The University of Memphis is emailing fans later Sunday about its refund policy.

Fans also will not be allowed inside the Elma Roane Fieldhouse for the Memphis women’s basketball program until further notice.

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Minnesota is the latest Football Bowl Subdivision team to opt out of bowl game consideration.

Coach P.J. Fleck announced Sunday that the decision was made collectively by athletic department leadership, coaches and players. The Gophers lost 20-17 in overtime at Wisconsin Saturday to finish the season at 3-4. Fleck said the program’s focus is “strictly” on the off-the-field well-being of the players, with the goal of them “being able to responsibly spend some of the remaining holiday season with family and loved ones.”

There’s no guarantee the Gophers would have been invited to a postseason game with a losing record and so many bowls canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Penn State was the first Big Ten to preemptively decline an invitation. Close to 20 teams in the FBS have opted out, including seven each from the Pac-12 and the ACC.

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