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Announced Sunday, the Fenway Bowl and Military Bowl have been canceled due to short-handed rosters hindered by COVID. This marks another contest crossed off the postseason schedule after the Hawaii Bowl’s recent cancellation on Christmas Eve.
Boston College’s matchup against East Carolina at the Military Bowl, scheduled for Monday (Dec. 27), was nixed after BC reported nearly “40 players” testing positive for COVID, rendering their roster short of available participants.
As relayed by the New York Post, BC athletic director Patrick Kraft and head coach Jeff Hafley expressed their disappointment with BC’s withdrawal.
“We just do not have enough players to field a team,” Kraft stated. “We are disappointed not to be able to finish the season together as a team, but the health and safety of our program is our highest priority.”
“This is not the way we wanted to see this season come to an end,” Hafley said. “We just do not have enough players to safely play a game. My heart goes out to our seniors who will not have one final opportunity to wear a BC jersey and I can’t thank them enough for all the contributions they made to our program.”
In the case of UVA, SMU and the Fenway Bowl, a flurry of positive cases for Virginia led to a decision to ultimately withdraw from the game — scheduled for Wednesday (Dec. 29). The contest would have been UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s final contest on the Cavaliers’ sideline after stepping down at the start of December. He concluded his tenure with a 6-6 record this past season.
Virginia AD Carla Williams spoke on the decision:
“We are extremely disappointed the team will not be able to participate in the inaugural Fenway Bowl,” Williams said. “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.”
On Thursday, Hawaii announced its withdrawal from the Hawaii Bowl game scheduled on Friday. Their opponent, the Memphis Tigers, had traveled to the island at the start of the week and held their practices on location leading up to the cancellation.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela