UVA Football withdraws from Fenway Bowl due to COVID-19 issues
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - COVID-19 issues within the program have forced the Virginia football team to withdraw from the Fenway Bowl, which was scheduled to take place on December 29th in Boston.
The bowl game against SMU at Fenway Park would have been Bronco Mendenhall’s final game as head coach of the football team.
“We are extremely disappointed the team will not be able to participate in the inaugural Fenway Bowl,” Virginia Athletics Director Carla Williams said in press release on Sunday. “Playing this game was something our team very much looked forward to and it is unfortunate Coach Mendenhall will not have one last opportunity to coach this group.”
UVA Athletics revealed in the press released that some players displayed symptoms associated with COVID-19 and subsequently tested positive for the virus in the days leading up to their scheduled departure.
The entire team was tested Christmas morning, and the Cavaliers pushed their flight from December 25th to December 26th while awaiting the test results.
The completed tests results showed more positive tests. Officials did not provide a specific number, but it was enough to prevent the team from safely participating in the game.
Virginia finishes the season with a record of 6-6 overall in 2021.
In 2020, UVA was one of just 17 teams to play 10 games and not suffer a postponement or cancellation due to COVID-19 issues within its program.
“We want to thank the Fenway Bowl and its staff for their preparation to host the game and for their communication with us over the past few days,” Williams said, in the press release. “We appreciate all of the hard work by our team and coaching staff. They earned this bowl invitation, and it is unfortunate they will not be able to compete in the game to complete the season. We regret how this also impacts our fans who were planning on attending the game as well as the SMU program and its fans.”
The Cavaliers qualified for a bowl game in five of Bronco Mendenhall’s six seasons with the program, though the team did not play in the postseason in 2020 or 2021, as they opted out of participating last year.
Bronco Mendenhall finishes with a record of 36-38 at Virginia.
Quarterback Brennan Armstrong ends his season 145 yards shy of breaking the ACC’s all-time record for passing yards in a single season.
The left-hander shattered the UVA record passing yards in a single game (554), as well as yards (4,449) and touchdowns (31) for a single season.
The Fenway Bowl is one of a few bowl game that have been canceled this postseason.
Boston College had to withdraw from the Military Bowl against East Carolina, and Hawaii pulled out of the Hawaii Bowl against Memphis.
Texas A&M was unable to play in the Gator Bowl, due to COVID-19, but Rutgers has filled the Aggies spot against Wake Forest.
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