Jeff Hafley

Jeff Hafley, who guided Boston College to a 6-5 record in his first season as head coach of the Eagles, says the team’s players have elected not to play in a bowl game. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

BOSTON — Boston College, which managed to escape the worst of the coronavirus outbreak and the schedule and roster shuffling that has affected so many other college football teams, is passing on the opportunity to play in a bowl game so that players can spend Christmas with their families.

BC is the first school to forego the postseason because of the pandemic.

“A lot of these young men haven’t hugged their loved ones since June,” Athletic Director Pat Kraft said Thursday in a conference call with reporters. “I’m very, very, very proud of them and the sacrifices they’ve made.”

BC was arguably the most successful team in the country at navigating the COVID-19 outbreak, with one positive test all season – and that was in the final week. The Eagles (6-5, 5-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) played all 11 scheduled games, with just one of them postponed just one day – because of shuffling elsewhere in the ACC.

“What we did with COVID was bigger in my opinion than any game we could have won,” said Coach Jeff Hafley, who is in his first year at BC. “I wish we could play every Saturday. But I don’t have to sit in a dorm room by myself.”

But Hafley said he could sense the strain of the unusual season on his players and called together his “leadership council” – one representative from every position group – to get a sense of how the team felt.

Together, they decided to pull the plug.

“When (linebacker Max Richardson) told the team that they’re going home to see their families, it was an uproar,” Hafley said. “At that moment, I knew 100% it was the right decision.”

The rookie coach alluded to the fact that the pandemic is still spreading in Massachusetts and most of the country. The worst-case scenario, he said, would be for the team to stay on an otherwise empty campus through December and then have a bowl game canceled.

“It’s getting worse,” Hafley said. “For us to go through three weeks of practice and not know: ‘Is the bowl game really going to happen?’ Are we going to miss Christmas with our families and then be told on the 25th that we’re not going to play?’”

CANCELLATIONS: Citing a surge of positive COVID-19 cases and contact tracing in the football program, West Virginia has paused all football activities for the next seven days and will not host No. 13 Oklahoma on Saturday.

Athletic Director Shane Lyons says the game will not be rescheduled. The next game for the Sooners (7-2) will instead be the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 19 against No. 10 Iowa State (8-2) in Arlington, Texas.

“Our intent is to get this spread under control as soon as possible for the health and safety of all involved,” Lyons said. “We are beyond disappointed not to play our final home game of the season and honor our seniors, but we need to act now and reevaluate our situation after Dec. 17.”

• Saturday’s game between No. 23 Texas and Kansas, which had already been pushed back because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Kansas program, has now been canceled because of an outbreak among members of the Texas program.

Texas (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) returned three positive tests after blowing out Kansas State last week, prompting school officials to shut down practice. The Longhorns had a walkthrough Wednesday, only to discover there were more positive tests.

Kansas will finish 0-9, its second winless season since 2015. Prior to that, the Jayhawks hadn’t gone without a win since 1954.

WASHINGTON: The university continued to pause football activities because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, casting serious doubt over this weekend’s scheduled game against Oregon. In a statement, Washington said the status of the game would be shared when more information becomes available.

The Huskies canceled practice on Wednesday because of a rise in the number of cases. They were awaiting additional PCR tests to confirm positive results. The school did not release the number of positive tests.

During his radio coaches show on Wednesday night, Washington’s Jimmy Lake said the number of cases and the lack continuity to them has left the school’s medical staff baffled.

ARKANSAS STATE: Coach Blake Anderson has resigned to take over at Utah State, according to a person familiar with the decision.

In seven years with Arkansas State, Anderson won 51 games and won consecutive Sun Belt titles in 2015-16.

Utah State fired Gary Andersen after an 0-3 start to this season.


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