A fifth college football bowl game was canceled Tuesday due to Covid-19 protocols, while at least two other bowl games will feature different teams.
The Holiday Bowl featuring UCLA and North Carolina State was set to take place Tuesday night at Petco Park in San Diego, but UCLA announced internal Covid-19 protocols prohibited the team from playing.
Rick Schloss, head of media relations for the Holiday Bowl, told CNN “the game will not be played.”
“We are extremely grateful to the Holiday Bowl, students, fans, sponsors, and the people of San Diego for their support this week,” said Martin Jarmond, UCLA athletic director, via a statement on Twitter. “We are deeply disappointed for our young men in the football program that worked extremely hard for this opportunity. My heart goes out to them. The health and safety of our student-athletes will always be our North Star.”
Holiday Bowl operations tweeted they were “disappointed and heartbroken” the bowl game was canceled.
Jarmond later released another statement saying the team had “isolated Covid challenges,” but were still in a position to compete.” The school’s medical staff “deemed it unsafe for us to compete this evening,” Jarmond said.
NC State Football released a statement of its own on Twitter, saying it was “heartbroken to not be able to compete one more time this season. We were informed a short time ago that our opponent would be unable to play this evening.”
As of Tuesday, seven bowl games have now been impacted in the past week by a rise in Covid-19 cases across the United States that has also hampered pro sports, snarled holiday travel and taxed health care systems.
Boise State Athletics announced Monday that it shut down all football team activities due to Covid-19 protocols. As a result, the Broncos will not compete against the Central Michigan Chippewas in the Arizona Bowl scheduled for Friday in Tucson, and the game has since been canceled, game organizers announced Monday.
Boise State’s decision was made in consultation with its medical staff, in addition to campus and public health officials.
“We feel for the young men in our program who were very much looking forward to closing out their season, and for some, their football careers,” Boise State Director of Athletics Jeramiah Dickey said in a statement. “I would personally like to thank Kym Adair and her team at the Arizona Bowl for putting together at first-class student-athlete and fan experience that we are extremely disappointed to miss.”
The Central Michigan Chippewas will now play in the Sun Bowl against the Washington State Cougars. Central Michigan takes the place of the Miami Hurricanes, who withdrew from the Sun Bowl on Sunday because of Covid-19 issues.
The Sun Bowl will be played at noon ET Friday in El Paso, Texas.
The University of Miami’s deputy director of athletics, Jennifer Strawley, said they were “extremely disappointed” not to participate in the Sun Bowl.
“But due to the number of Covid-19 cases impacting our roster we do not have enough student-athletes to safely compete, and the health and safety of our student-athletes will always be our top priority,” Strawley said.
Three other bowl games were canceled
Monday’s Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland, between Boston College and East Carolina University was canceled because Boston College did not have enough players available due to a rise in Covid-19 cases, Director of Athletics Pat Kraft said.
“Unfortunately, due to cases of Covid-19 rising within our program since our arrival, along with season-ending injuries, opt-outs and transfers, we just do not have enough players to field a team,” Kraft said. “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.”
Having to cancel is a “terrible situation,” the bowl’s president and executive director, Steve Beck, said in a statement.
“We appreciate everyone who worked so hard to try to make the game happen. Of course, the health and safety of the players and coaches is top priority,” he said. “The decision not to play is understandable, but disappointing.”
The Military Bowl Parade and the Military Bowl Tailgate Festival, also scheduled for Monday, were canceled.
The inaugural Fenway Bowl in Boston between the University of Virginia and Southern Methodist University – scheduled for Wednesday – was also canceled.
The University of Virginia’s number of Covid-19 cases also prevented it from safely participating in the Fenway Bowl, the school said.
The team was “extremely disappointed,” Virginia Athletics Director Carla 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,” she said. “We regret how this also impacts our fans who were planning on attending the game as well as the SMU program and its fans.”
All activities associated with the Fenway Bowl will no longer take place, Fenway Sports Management said.
“Though we all are disappointed that the Wasabi Fenway Bowl will not be played this year, we are grateful to our community partners, sponsors, volunteers, and stakeholders for their hard work to introduce college bowl season to Fenway Park,” Fenway Sports Management said in a statement. “We’d like to extend that appreciation to both schools and fanbases for their enthusiastic support. We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2022 Wasabi Fenway Bowl.”
The Hawaii Bowl scheduled for Christmas Eve was canceled, as the University of Hawaii withdrew because of Covid-19 issues. Hawaii was scheduled to face the University of Memphis.
On Wednesday, Texas A&M University announced it would not be able to participate in the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest University on New Year’s Eve. Organizers said Rutgers University will replace Texas A&M in the game.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the Sun Bowl was canceled. Washington State and bowl officials were working to find a team to replace the Miami Hurricanes in the game.
CNN’s Holden Perrelli contributed to this report.