UMass football to play in Fall 2020

The move reverses a previous decision made in August

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Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

By Noah Bortle, Sports Editor

The Massachusetts football team has reversed course and will be playing a football season in the fall of 2020.

After originally announcing the cancellation of football in the fall with the intent to play in the spring, UMass will now put together an abbreviated schedule to take place starting in mid-October.

“Today is a great day for Massachusetts Football,” said head football coach Walt Bell via a press release. “Everyone associated with our program is excited to play football this fall. We have successfully created one of the safest environments in college football since June and our young men deserve the opportunity to compete in 2020. We are grateful to our campus leadership for supporting academic and competitive opportunities for our student-athletes and staff to do what they love in a safe manner.”

The decision follows a similar decision by the Big 10 and a “#WeWantToPlay” campaign by the Minutemen players.

UMass has yet to announce a schedule for the unusual season but is already working toward what they are calling “a competitive multi-contest schedule,” via the press release.

As of now, the number of games and opponents remains unclear, but the athletic department has made clear that McGuirk Stadium will not host fans for any of the fall’s contests.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff has always been our first priority,” said director of athletics Ryan Bamford via the press release. “Since returning to campus in June, the members of our football program have been vigilant in following the policies and safety protocols instituted by the state, our university and athletics department, helping us reach a high level of confidence that we can safely conduct a truncated season this fall. Further, our recent work to generate a schedule in the spring semester, similar to our other fall sports, indicated that fall 2020 provided the best opportunity for our football student-athletes to take the field this academic year.”

The football players had remained on campus throughout the fall and continued practicing despite the initial plan to cancel play in mid-August.

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