Add UMass to the list of teams that aren’t playing college football in the fall of 2020.
The school announced Tuesday that it would aim to play football in the spring of 2021 and not play at all this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“After consulting with university, state and public health officials, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 UMass football season,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said. “We have been in constant communication with university leadership and our football staff since March, with the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff remaining our top priority. The continuing challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic posed too great of a risk, and we reached the conclusion that attempting to play a season would not have placed the members of our program in the safest situation possible.”
UMass is the 27th team out of 130 at college football’s top level that isn’t playing football in the fall. The Minutemen’s decision comes a day after the Mountain West said its 12 teams wouldn’t play fall sports and Old Dominion announced that it wouldn’t have fall sports this year.
Saturday, the Mid-American Conference said that its 12 teams wouldn’t play football or other fall sports and UConn previously said it would be canceling its 2020 football season. All teams but UConn have said they have an eye on playing football in the spring.
“I am absolutely heartbroken for our players, our former players, our alumni and our UMass Football community,” UMass coach Walt Bell said. “Our job as coaches and mentors is to provide opportunities for our players, and do everything in our power to not take them away. Today's news was devastating, but we will be resilient and prepared to be our best when our best is required.
”I would like to give an unbelievable amount of gratitude to our medical professionals, our administration, our campus, our athletic training staff and our operations staff for creating one of the safest environments in college football. The testing, the protocols, the risk mitigation, and the execution have been incredible.”
UMass was an independent
UMass is not affiliated with a conference in football and plays an independent schedule. The school had already lost four games off its schedule with previous cancellations. UMass had lost games against UConn, Albany, New Mexico and Akron.
With a potential shift to spring, UMass could have the ability to fill out a schedule if the MAC and Mountain West play in 2021. And we’re waiting to see if other conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 shift their seasons. The two Power Five leagues could make decisions as soon as this week regarding the future of their fall seasons.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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