Independent UMass Cancels 2020 Football Season

Aug 11, 2020, 11:35 AM | Updated: 11:35 am
UMass Football - BYU...
Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Sae Tautu (31) tackles UMass Minutemen wide receiver Andy Isabella (23) during a game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The UMass Minutemen have canceled their 2020 football season.

UMass joins the UConn Huskies as the second FBS Independent program to cancel its upcoming season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In its press release announcing the cancelation, UMass wrote the school had administered “more than 600 COVID-19 tests” with only one coming back positive.

The Minutemen have struggled to find their footing in the FBS landscape since upgrading the program from the FCS ranks where they had national success as a former National Champion.

BYU played UMass the past four seasons with the Cougars going 3-1 in those games. Including a 56-24 BYU victory last year that saw the Cougars up 49-0 at halftime.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe participated in a Zoom call in July that included ADs at UMass and other Independents discussing possible scheduling scenarios. Those scenarios will not be explored by the Minutemen anymore for the upcoming fall.

Unlike BYU, who has been impacted by nearly every conference canceling or going to Conference-only schedules, the Minutemen still had seven games on its 2020 schedule. But they couldn’t go forward with a season.

“After consulting with university, state and public health officials, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 UMass football season,” said UMass athletic director Ryan Bramford in a press release. “We have been in constant communication with university leadership and our football staff since March, with the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff remaining our top priority. The continuing challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic posed too great of a risk, and we reached the conclusion that attempting to play a season would not have placed the members of our program in the safest situation possible.”

According to U.S. Department of Education Equity in Athletics Data from the 2018-19 academic year, UMass pulled down $10.3 million in revenue from football. Making up one-fourth of the $40 million in athletic revenues for that year.

UMass, UConn, Old Dominion, the Mid-American Conference, and the Mountain West Conference have all decided to cancel/postpone their respective seasons.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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