The University of Connecticut, which played in the American Athletic Conference through last season with Temple and is now an independent in football, has canceled its football season due to the risks of COVID-19.
The school made the announcement Wednesday morning.
“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,” UConn athletic director David Benedict said in a statement. “The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.”
This season’s games against Illinois, Indiana, Maine, and Mississippi already had been taken off the schedule. Illinois and Indiana are members of the Big Ten, and Mississippi is in the Southeastern Conference, and those two conferences decided not to play nonconference games this year.
Maine is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, which canceled fall sports but allowed football teams to seek nonconference games. The school announced it won’t pursue football games in the fall.
In addition, UConn also had uncertainty about games with North Carolina and Virginia. Both are members of the ACC, which allows one nonconference game per team, as long as the opponent plays the game in the state of the ACC institution.
UConn was not scheduled to face Temple or any other AAC school this year.
During the spring, Temple and UConn did agree to a future four-year football deal. The Owls will visit UConn in 2024 and 2027 and host the Huskies in 2026 and 2028.
UConn began spring practice on Feb. 4 and completed a full spring schedule. The school announced that the team has been on campus since early July with zero student-athletes testing positive for COVID-19.
Also on Wednesday, as expected, the AAC announced its plan for football. The AAC will stick with playing eight conference games and have teams play as many of their four nonconference games as possible. The plan calls for conference competition to begin Sept. 19.
The AAC plan is to play conference games on their originally scheduled dates. Temple’s first AAC game is scheduled for Sept. 26 at Navy.
The AAC also stated that “nonconference games may be played at the discretion of the individual school, with the understanding that the opponents will strictly adhere to protocols and standards for testing pregame, in-game and postgame operations set by The American’s Medical Advisory Group.”
Temple was scheduled to open with a nonconference game at Miami on Sept. 5, but that date was ruled out when the Atlantic Coast Conference decided not to start its season until the week of Sept. 7.
The ACC will allow one nonconference game as long as it is played in the state of the ACC institution. A Temple official said no decision has been made concerning the Miami game. Miami also has home nonconference games with Wagner and UAB and would be allowed just one of those three.