UConn canceled its football season on Wednesday, becoming the first FBS college program to suspend play for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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," University of Connecticut 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."
In its first year as an FBS independent after departing from the American Athletic Conference, UConn's 2020 schedule was heavily reliant on non-conference play against Power Five programs. But the Huskies' slate had already been riddled by canceled games due to the Power Five leagues responding to the pandemic with adjusted schedule models that canceled most non-conference games. UConn had already lost matchups against Illinois, Ole Miss, Indiana and Maine, with contests against North Carolina and Virginia in question. The remaining games on UConn's schedule were against UMass, Old Dominion, Liberty, San Jose State, Middle Tennessee State and Army.
"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," said head coach Randy Edsall, who coached the Jacksonville Jaguars' defensive backs under head coach Tom Coughlin from 1995 through 1997. "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."
A number of conferences and programs from lower divisions had already canceled their seasons, including the Ivy League, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the Patriot League and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, plus many more from the Division II and III levels, while the National Junior College Athletic Association moved its schedule to the spring.