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Military, Fenway bowls canceled amid COVID-19 outbreaks; Miami out of Sun Bowl

By Daniel Uria and Allen Cone
Military, Fenway bowls canceled amid COVID-19 outbreaks; Miami out of Sun Bowl
The Military Bowl and Fenway Bowl were canceled Sunday after Boston College and Virginia had to drop out of each game respectively in part due to positive COVID-19 cases on their rosters. File Photo by C. John Chavis/Wikimedia Commons

Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Two college football bowl games were canceled and Miami opted out of another bowl Sunday due to COVID-19 complications among participating teams.

The 2021 Military Bowl scheduled for Monday in Anapolis, Md., was canceled after Boston College was forced to pull out of the game against East Carolina as it was short on available players due to a combination of COVID-19 cases and injuries. The Fenway bowl set for Monday in Boston between SMU and Virginia was canceled after Virginia was unable to travel after players on the team tested positive for the virus.

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Later Sunday, Miami announced it will not be able to participate in Friday's Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, against Washington State because of COVID-19 issues.

Miami last week had delayed departure for the game until the day before kickoff to be able to play.

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Washington State arrived in El Paso on Sunday for the game.

"It is very disappointing that COVID is taking a toll on so many college football teams and bowl games," Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas said in a statement. "As of this moment, the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl game has not been cancelled, although the University of Miami has withdrawn from the game. We are currently looking for a possible replacement-team, in the hopes of having one to compete against Washington State."

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Miami is the third Atlantic Coast Conference team that couldn't play in a bowl game, joining Boston College and Virginia.

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Boston College said it did not have enough players to field a team with more than 40 players sidelined due to COVID-19 cases, season-ending injuries opt-outs and transfers.

"This is not the way we wanted to see this season come to an end," Boston College coach Jeff 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."

Virginia said the entire team was tested Christmas morning after some players had tested positive ahead of the team's departure, with additional positives revealed Sunday keeping the team from being able to participate in the bowl game.

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The game was meant to be Bronco Mendenhall's final outing as head coach after he announced his resignation earlier this month.

"We are extremely disappointed the team will not be able to participate in the inaugural Fenway Bowl," Virginia athletic director Carla 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."

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The Hawaii Bowl between Hawaii and Memphis on Christmas Eve in Honolulu was also canceled after the former backed out, and Texas A&M was forced to pull out of the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. due to COVID-19 issues but Rutgers stepped in as a replacement.

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