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UPDATE: UVA AD Carla Williams confirms team’s Covid results killed bowl game

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Virginia will not play in this week’s Wasabi Fenway Bowl due to Covid issues within the team, the school confirmed this morning.

A final round of testing ended the trip for the Cavaliers. Due to the number of Covid cases impacting its roster, preventing safe participation, the game has been canceled.

“We are extremely disappointed the team will not be able to participate in the inaugural Fenway Bowl,” said Carla Williams, Virginia’s director of athletics. “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.”

According to the school’s release, in days leading up to the team’s planned departure on Christmas day, some UVA players displayed symptoms associated with COVID-19 and subsequently tested positive for the virus. As a result, the entire team was tested Christmas morning. The completed test results provided to Virginia athletics on Sunday morning (Dec. 26), revealed additional positive tests that prevented 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 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.”

Mendenhall, who surprisingly stepped down after the season, had decided he would coach his team for the bowl game, but Covid has ended the season. It is the second consecutive year that Virginia was eligible to play in postseason but did not extend its campaign.

According to sources, several UVA players did not practice Friday, including quarterback Brennan Armstrong.

The Cavaliers finished the season 6-6 and were scheduled to play SMU (8-4) in the first-ever Fenway Bowl at historic Fenway Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox.

Refunds will automatically be posted to the payment card used for purchases within the next 14 business days according to bowl officials.

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