Tweets, push alerts and press conferences determined the fate of college football weekends as COVID-19 caused cancellations and postponements for dozens of games this fall.
As the regular season draws to a close, UCF has yet to experience a coronavirus-related disruption, cancellation or postponement since the start of the season. It is the only AAC and Florida FBS team to do so.
“It’s a testament to our players for taking accountability and protecting themselves,” said UCF Knights football head coach Josh Heupel. “It’s really a hard thing to do. Our entire program, players and staff alike, have done a great job and allowed us to get out there and play and compete.”
UCF’s first two games of the season — UNC and FIU — were axed due to conference scheduling and precautionary COVID-19 measures, respectively. Both matchups were not rescheduled.
But it’s been smooth sailing since then.
The Knights’ season opener at Georgia Tech on Sept. 19 marked the first of nine games where COVID-19 would not play a role in determining the schedule.
No other team in the AAC could say the same. Just this week, Houston at SMU was canceled due to contract tracing issues within the Mustangs’ program. Houston leads the conference with the most games impacted by COVID-19 with six cancellations.
The six other FBS programs in Florida — FIU, Florida, Miami, Florida State, FAU and USF — are also no strangers to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements. FIU has the most impacted games with six.
Throughout the season, UCF has implemented and enforced COVID-19 guidelines throughout the Bounce House, including increased social distancing measures, “mask ambassadors” and a limited stadium capacity. The combination of these protocols and the behind-the-scenes measures from student-athletes and personnel have contributed to lack of cancellations this season.
Daniella Medina is a contributing writer for Black & Gold Banneret. Follow her on Twitter @danimedinanews.