UConn Football Cancels Its 2020 Season

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The UConn football team will not be playing football in 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY: Photo by Stephen Slade/UConn Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The University of Connecticut will not be playing football this season.

Following a slew of reports and tweets this morning surrounding the Huskies’ upcoming season, the athletic department posted an official announcement just a short time ago, stating the 2020 season has been canceled after receiving guidance from both the state and public health officials, along with input from the student-athletes.

“The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk,” said David Benedict, the school’s director of athletics, via today’s release.

Added Randy Edsall, who is the head coach of the Huskies, “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.”

Members of the UConn football team echoed statements from both Benedict and Edsall, saying even they were concerned about the impact the coronavirus could have on them, as well.

“We have many health concerns and not enough is known about the potential long term effects of contracting COVID-19,” said the student-athletes of the UConn football program in a combined statement.

Prior to today’s announcement, a few games had been removed from the 2020 schedule, including contests against Maine and Mississippi. Maine canceled its football season last month, along with the rest of its fall athletic schedule.

Last season, the Huskies posted just two wins, including a local victory over the University of Massachusetts.

Daily Noontime: Wednesday, August 5, 2020

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By Matt Noonan 

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone!

We have made it to the halfway point of yet another week – how does that make you feel?

Let’s make today a great one by starting it with a brand new Daily Noontime. Have a great day, everyone – and remember to smile, too!


Noontime’s Headlines for Wednesday, August 5, 2020 

  • We kick-off a brand new day with some BIG news from the college football world: the University of Connecticut will not play football this year, per multiple reports.

    The Huskies become the first FBS team to suspend its upcoming season due to the coronavirus pandemic – which team will be the next one to cancel its upcoming season?

  • In case you didn’t know, UConn posted just two wins last season – the Huskies beat Wagner College and the University of Massachusetts – while finishing 0-8 against American Athletic Conference foes.
  • Elsewhere in the college sports world, Colorado State is launching an investigation into its football program due to reports of some coaches and staffers intimidating and threatening players “for following Covid-19 protocols.”

    Apparently, coaches seem more focused on preparing for the upcoming season than protecting their student-athletes, which is NOT good news.

  • Locally, the Boston Red Sox lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-1 – the local nine are now 3-8 overall – while the Boston Celtics lost to the Miami Heat, 112-106.
  • Looking to watch some hockey this afternoon? Well, you’re in luck as the Boston Bruins will face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4 p.m. This is a MUST-WIN for the Black and Gold, which lost its initial restart contest on Sunday to the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • Finally, this has not been a good week for sports media, especially locally where a slew of on-air broadcasters, including Gary Tanguay, was laid off from NBC Sports Boston.

    Gary Tanguay was a staple to the channel’s coverage for many years – he was certainly someone I admired – and I wish the best for him and everyone that was laid off yesterday.

    Again, this is tough news for the industry.

NCAA President Mark Emmert Is Concerned About Fall Sports

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NCAA President Mark Emmert said no games will be played this fall without students back on campus. (PHOTO COURTESY: Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)

By Matt Noonan

As we continue to inch closer toward a brand new college sports season, specifically college football, there seems to be some concern from NCAA President Mark Emmert regarding what various seasons will look like this fall during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

In a recent podcast appearance on The Comeback: COVID-19 and the Return of Sports from The Athletic, Emmert told host Seth Davis that the current situation is “very, very fluid,” and that whatever happens with fall sports will certainly be different than prior years.

“What we do know for sure is whatever occurs it’s going to be different,” said Emmert, who previously stated during an NCAA Social Series last month on Twitter that college athletics could not occur if students were not on campus.

As for what the upcoming football season looks like, including here in New England, Emmert told Davis that it won’t be what “we’re custom to seeing it year in and year out.”

Earlier this week, we learned Bowdoin College would not be playing football this fall – maybe this spring? – while Morehouse College announced today that its cross country nor football teams would not be competing for Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championships this fall. 

The Patriot League announced its plans for the upcoming fall sports season on Monday, which included guidelines for its seven members that play football. Teams will not be allowed to fly to away games while the league stated that “with rare exceptions, the regular-season competition will exclude overnight travel.” 

Holy Cross, which captured the Patriot League crown last fall with a 24-0 victory over Georgetown University, shouldn’t have to fly too many games this fall as eight of its current contests, including three conference matchups, are scheduled to take place in either Massachusetts or Connecticut. However, the Crusaders’ season-opener against Merrimack College on Thursday, September 3 could be canceled due to the league not allowing its members to compete against non-conference foes until Friday, September 4. 

As of today, we are 10 weeks away from the first official weekend of college football in New England as well as 69 days away from watching a slew of teams kick-off their respective campaigns on Thursday, September 3, including Bentley University, University of Connecticut and University of Massachusetts Amherst

Will games begin on time or be pushed back to later in September? Could we see games moved to October, November, or even December? What about pushing back the season until next spring? 

No matter what, Emmert knows the upcoming college sports season will look so much different than it has previously and may only feature conference or in-state contests along with a slew of regional games.

“Nobody can predict anything with certainty and so therefore you shouldn’t rule anything out,” said Emmert. 

“I certainly think that sitting here today that there will be football in the fall. I think it will be different in many respects whether it’s the audiences in attendance or not in attendance, whether it’s the nature of the schedule, whether it’s the length of the season – you know, all of those things will be different and certainly the protocol and the way the games are played and the healthcare that surrounding that has got to be different.” 

Daily Noontime: Thursday, June 25, 2020

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By Matt Noonan 

It’s Thursday, which means a brand new weekend is upon us – yay!

As usual, we hope EVERYONE is doing well while continuing to stay safe and healthy. And now, let’s dish out some news and links.


Noontime’s Headlines for Thursday, June 25, 2020

  • The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has some within the sports – and yes, news world – thinking the following question: is it worth the risk to play games while numbers continue to trend upward?Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press penned an interesting column that may make you think it might be wise to punt on sports for the rest of the year. But again, what do we know?
  • Similar to Tim Dalhberg’s piece about possibly saying goodbye to sports in 2020, the Boston Globe‘s Dan Shaughnessy expressed similar feelings in a recent column earlier this week.
  • Following this week’s news of Mystic Valley Regional Charter School canceling its upcoming football season, various high school teams the program was scheduled to play are starting to worry about a potential “domino effect.”
  • With baseball returning to Fenway Park next week – that is Spring Training 2.0, to be exact – Boston Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy hopes he and the organization can welcome fans to upcoming games either later this summer or in the fall.While it is uncertain if and when fans would be able to attend an upcoming Red Sox game, various outlets reported yesterday that one of Boston’s players tested positive for the coronavirus. The unnamed player is asymptomatic and is doing well it seems, according to various reports.
  • We learned yesterday that the University of Connecticut will cut four sports – men’s cross country, women’s rowing, men’s swimming, and diving and men’s tennis – at the end of the upcoming school year.The reason behind these cuts is due to an “overall budget reduction effort,” as reported by Sam Cooper of Yahoo! Sports.

     

  • And finally, student-athletes of teams (and programs) that are expected to be cut by Brown University, have accused the institution of “fraud for working secretly on a plan” that would eliminate their respective sport.

UMass’s Walt Bell Seems Optimistic For A College Football Season

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Walt Bell, who is entering his second season with the UMass football team, appears optimistic for a college football season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

By Matt Noonan 

As we continue to inch closer to July and August, the thought of college football seems to be on the minds of many these days, including the University of Massachusetts‘ Walt Bell.

Bell, who is entering his second season as the head coach of the Minutemen, seems optimistic for a season to occur this fall, despite so many questions swirling around the health and safety of both coaches and student-athletes.

“Every single day, you can start to see that snowball of positivity start to roll,” Bell said when speaking with Howard Herman of the Berkshire Eagle. “I know there will be football. I know in the majority of the country, there’s going to be football.”

Indeed, there will be football games played somewhere this fall, but will they occur in states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, which have been impacted by the coronavirus (Covid-19), remains an unknown? 

Bell did say that games will be played in Florida and Georgia, which certainly seems likely, especially after hearing Governor Ron DeSantis tell reporters last month that high school football fans “should absolutely assume” a season will happen later this year.

As of now, Bell and the Minutemen will keep their focus on staying connected through Zoom and FaceTime while thinking optimistically about the team’s season-opener against the University of Connecticut.