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Virginia out of Fenway Bowl: COVID-19 strikes again

wasabi fenway bowlThe Fenway Bowl is off because of COVID issues in the Virginia football program. Commence the wailing and gnashing of teeth, though, seriously, did you want to sit through another three and a half hours of that defense missing tackles?

“We are extremely disappointed the team will not be able to participate in the inaugural Fenway Bowl,” Virginia Athletics 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.”

Virginia finishes the 2021 season with a 6-6 record, and as Williams alluded to above, Bronco Mendenhall is now officially done as the Cavaliers’ head coach.

Official word from Virginia Athletics is that some UVA had players displayed symptoms associated with COVID-19 in the days leading up to the program’s scheduled departure on Saturday 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, revealed additional positive tests that prevent 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 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. We regret how this also impacts our fans who were planning on attending the game as well as the SMU program and its fans.”

This is, in a way, if not a best-case scenario, at least a pretty good one. New coach Tony Elliott was able to see his new team practice, watch how the coaches interact with the guys, to get a sense of whether he would want to ask some of them to stay on, and nobody gets hurt in a meaningless game.

I’m not breaking any news there, calling this bowl game a meaningless game.

If they’re not playoff games leading to the crowning of a new champion, they’re meaningless, which is why you see so many guys opting out of playing in them.

The games don’t draw numbers worth the bumps on the bump card that the kids have to endure.

ESPN has been propping these games up for years for what we’re told is content purposes, but really, it’s just so they can give Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon the week between Christmas and New Year’s off.

The folks at TacShaver will have to rethink their Wednesday 11 a.m. marketing strategy, but other than that, this is barely a blip on the radar.

Now we can turn our attention to the transfer portal, how Elliott is going to flesh out his staff, and ACC basketball.

Well, OK, there, it’s going to be a rough couple of weeks until the ACC updates its protocols to the realities of Omicron, but, we’ll get back to normal eventually.

Story by Chris Graham


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