AMHERST, MASS. (WHDH) - The University of Massachusetts — Amherst has decided to reverse their decision on postponing football competition until the spring, announcing Monday that a limited number of games will now be played in the fall.
School officials say their decision reversal came after the football program’s COVID-19 safety protocols and rigorous testing regiment received a positive review.
They initially announced on Aug. 11 that the fall football season had been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
Competitive games are expected to start in mid-October.
Athletic Director Ryan Bamford said in a statement, “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff has always been our first priority.”
“Since returning to campus in June, the members of our football program have been vigilant in following the policies and safety protocols instituted by the state, our university and athletics department, helping us reach a high level of confidence that we can safely conduct a truncated season this fall,” he continued. “Further, our recent work to generate a schedule in the spring semester, similar to our other fall sports, indicated that fall 2020 provided the best opportunity for our football student-athletes to take the field this academic year.”
Over the past 13 weeks, more than 1,800 COVID-19 tests have been administered to members of the football program with only two positive results, school officials added.
Student-athletes who choose not to practice or play this fall can opt out of the 2020 season with no impact to their NCAA eligibility, roster status or scholarship aid agreement.
UMass Athletics will not host fans for home games this fall.
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