The Military Bowl between Boston College and East Carolina has been canceled because of COVID-19 issues, bowl organizers announced Sunday.
The Eagles (6-6, 2-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) and Pirates (7-5, 5-3 American Athletic Conference) were set to meet at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland on Monday.
But Boston College said it is down more than 40 players due to COVID-19-related issues and injuries and the Eagles elected to pull out of the game as a result.
“This is not the way we wanted to see this season come to an end,” BC 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.”
This is the latest in a string of unfortunate bowl game developments for the Eagles.
The First Responder Bowl in 2018 was canceled due to lightning. The 2019 Birmingham Bowl was delayed due to lightning before the Eagles lost to Cincinnati. Although the Eagles were bowl eligible, BC elected to skip a bowl game last year due to COVID-19 concerns.
The Eagles initially chose to play in their game this season. They got to the area early and visited the Museum of African American History, among other sights. They missed Christmas with their families on Saturday and learned Sunday that the game would be called off.
“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,” said BC athletics director Pat Kraft.
East Carolina shared an update on Twitter on Sunday, in which ECU head coach Mike Houston called it “painful to digest,” and athletic director Jon Gilbert echoed those thoughts.
“Boston College AD Pat Kraft and I have been in communication the last two days, and he phoned me a short time ago to inform me the Eagles would not be able to participate in the Military Bowl due to COVID-19,” Gilbert said. “We are obviously very disappointed to not be able to play in the game.”
The Fenway Bowl between Southern Methodist and Virginia, scheduled for Wednesday, was also canceled Sunday due to COVID concerns.