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- Senior college football writer
- Author of seven books on college football
- Graduate of the University of Georgia
Mark SchlabachESPN Senior Writer
UConn, which last month officially left the American Athletic Conference ahead of its return to the Big East Conference, announced Wednesday that its suspending its football program for the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
UConn, which went 2-10 in its final season in the AAC, is the first FBS program to suspend its football team because of the pandemic. The Huskies were expected to play as an independent this season.
“After receiving guidance from state and public health officials and consulting with football student-athletes, we’ve decided that we will not compete on the gridiron this season,” director of athletics David Benedict said in a statement. “The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.”
Four of the game’s on UConn’s schedule — road games at Illinois and Ole Miss and home games against Indiana and FCS foe Maine — were cancelled because of scheduling decisions by those teams’ leagues.
The Huskies officially left the AAC on July 1 and are required to pay their former league an exit fee of $17 million by 2026.
UConn is joining the Big East in all sports besides football, men’s and women’s ice hockey and rowing.
The Huskies are only 6-30 in three seasons since Randy Edsall returned for a second tenure before the 2017 season. UConn hasn’t had a winning campaign since 2010, which was Edsall’s last season before he left for Maryland. He guided the Huskies to an 8-5 record, Big East title and Fiesta Bowl appearance that season.
“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,” Edsall said via statement. “Our team is united in this approach and we will use this time to further player development within the program and gear ourselves to the 2021 season.”