Military, Fenway bowls canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Military and Fenway bowls were canceled on Sunday due to COVID-19 issues with participating teams.

Boston College had more than 40 players unavailable to play in the Military Bowl against East Carolina on Monday. Virginia also had players test positive for COVID-19, which prevented it from traveling and playing SMU in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl, scheduled for Wednesday.

In a statement, Boston College said it did not have enough players to set up a team due to coronavirus issues, end-of-season injuries, opt-outs and transfers.

Last season, Boston College came out with only one positive COVID-19 case all year round, but declined the opportunity to play in a bowling match due to the toll the entire season had taken on everyone.

BC went into the season with its entire team and staff vaccinated, but the highly contagious Omicron variant has led to breakthrough cases across the country.

The Eagles have been in the Washington DC area since Wednesday preparing for the bowling game.

“This is not the way we wanted this season to end,” Boston College coach Jeff Hafley said in a statement. “We just don’t have enough players to play a game safely. My heart goes out to our seniors who won’t be given one last chance to wear a BC shirt and I can’t thank them enough for all the contributions they have made delivered to our program.”

Virginia said in a statement that some players tested positive in the days leading up to Saturday, the team’s scheduled departure date for the Fenway Bowl.

As a result, the entire team was tested on Christmas morning and the completed test results on Sunday revealed additional positive tests that will prevent the team from safely entering the game. Before the season started, Virginia had nearly 100% vaccination on its schedule, with exceptions for medical and religious reasons.

The game would have been the last for Virginia under coach Bronco Mendenhall, who announced his resignation earlier this month.

“We are deeply disappointed that the team cannot participate in the inaugural Fenway Bowl,” Virginia athletics director Carla Williams said in a statement. “Playing this game was something our team was really looking forward to and it’s a shame that Coach Mendenhall won’t get one last chance to coach this group.”

On Thursday, the EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl was canceled after Hawai’i announced it was withdrawing from its game against Memphis, citing COVID-19 issues within the program, in addition to injuries and transfers. That game was scheduled to take place in Honolulu on Friday.

Nick Carparelli, the bowling season executive director, tweeted Sunday that the COVID-19 college football protocols developed last year are “outdated and need immediate updating! We’re causing more trouble than necessary.”

Carparelli later deleted the tweet, but told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg: “Health and safety will always be the number one concern. However, I think the frustrating thing is that, as the virus has evolved and weakened, protocols in university athletics have not have changed. are other sports organizations, especially the NFL, that have evolved and are functioning just fine.”


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