UMass football cancels upcoming season

The Minutemen had been practicing since June

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Parker Peters

Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

By Noah Bortle, Sports Editor

The hope of a 2020 Massachusetts football season came to an end on Tuesday as UMass athletics announced the cancelation of its football season.

“After consulting with university, state and public health officials, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 UMass football season,” said athletic director Ryan Bamford via the athletic department’s press release. “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.”

The move followed a press conference on Wednesday of last week in which Bamford said, “We are very hopeful and continue to prepare as a program and a department as if we’ll be playing football this fall.”

Since then, the Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference to cancel football for the fall followed by the Mountain West, both joining Connecticut.

The Minutemen, an FBS independent, had already lost opportunities for a handful of games due to other conferences making the switch to a conference-only schedule and would have needed to find replacements for the canceled games.

“I am absolutely heartbroken for our players, our former players, our alumni and our UMass Football community,” said head coach Walt Bell via the press release. “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.”

With football’s season being canceled, UMass will have no sports playing during the traditional fall season this year barring a sudden change of course by the Atlantic 10.

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.