University of Connecticut first FBS team to cancel 2020 football season

Newly-independent UConn announced it will suspend its football program for this year, citing COVID-19 health concerns, making it the first FBS team to cancel its season.

In a statement, UConn athletic director David Benedict said the decision came after consulting state and public health officials, and speaking with student-athletes. 

"The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk," he said.

Non-conference games against Illinois, Maine and Ole Miss were previously canceled after several NCAA athletic conferences capped the number of non-conference games for the season.

The team officially departed the American Athletic Conference on July 1 and must pay an exit fee of $17 million by 2026, reports ESPN. All of the school's sports will join the Big East, except football, men's and women's ice hockey and rowing.

"UConn Athletics will be reaching out to season ticket holders and supporters in the coming days to further explain options and provide individualized solutions as needed including full refunds when requested," the school's statement read in part. "Regarding the status of other fall sports, UConn will continue to work with the BIG EAST to chart the best path forward.