The University of Connecticut just became the first team at college football’s highest level to cancel its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Athletic director David Benedict announced in a release Wednesday that the “safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.”
The Huskies play in Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision, where big-time programs like Alabama and Ohio State also compete.
Some conferences like the Pac-12 have already announced a conference-only schedule, but UConn is the first FBS program to suspend its season amid the outbreak, ESPN reported. Some players in that conference have threatened to hold out if certain concerns about health and racial justice are not addressed.
The Huskies, who were to play as an independent this season, already had scheduling challenges. Games against Illinois, Ole Miss, Indiana and Maine were canceled due to their conferences’ decisions.
“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,” football coach Randy Edsall said in the release.
Players said they were on board with the decision.
“As a team we are in full support of the decision to not compete in 2020,” they said in a statement. “We have many health concerns and not enough is known about the potential long term effects of contracting COVID-19.”
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter