BOSTON, Mass. (WFXR) — The inaugural Fenway Bowl will not take place due to COVID-19 issues within the University of Virginia (UVA) football program.
UVA was supposed to play Southern Methodist University (SMU) at Fenway Park Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 11 a.m.
The UVA football team was awaiting COVID-19 testing results before traveling to Boston. The Cavaliers were supposed to leave for Boston on Christmas Day. Then it was moved to Sunday, Dec. 26. Then the next step was to leave on Monday, Dec. 27. Now, all those plans have been scrapped.
This also means that Bronco Mendenhall, who announced he would be stepping down from his position as head coach of UVA after the bowl game, has coached his final game with the Cavaliers.
“We are extremely disappointed the team will not be able to participate in the inaugural Fenway Bowl,” said UVA Athletics Director Carla Williams. “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.”
In the days leading up to the team’s planned departure date on Saturday, Dec. 25, some UVA players displayed symptoms associated with COVID-19. Subsequently, they tested positive for the virus. As a result, the entire team was tested Christmas morning.
The completed test results, provided to UVA athletics officials on Sunday revealed additional positive tests that prevent the team from safely participating in the game.
“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. “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.”