The University of Washington Huskies football program will not pursue a bowl game in 2020. UW made the announcement on Friday citing medical reasons.
"We have made a medical decision to not pursue a bowl bid this year. I’m truly disappointed for our players, coaches and staff who dedicated themselves to this very challenging season and were looking forward to representing the University of Washington, all of Husky Nation and the Pac-12 Conference in a bowl game. The last 10 days we have made every effort, including pausing all football-related activities and continued aggressive testing protocols, to be able to have our team ready to return to the field. However, with the number of positive cases, specifically at the offensive line position, we will not have a team ready for competition due to our comprehensive return to play medical protocols. Since the start of practices this fall, we committed to returning to play only when we were able to do so in a healthy manner, and unfortunately, we aren’t at that point at this time," said Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen.
"I’m so grateful for Coach Lake’s leadership, and am proud of the young men in our football program for managing the adversity of this season with grit and class," she said. "Our decision also allows our players, who have given up so much this year, to go home and be reunited with their families during the holidays. We also understand this is incredibly difficult for our seniors who have made a remarkable impact on this campus and in our community during their time on Montlake. We would like to thank them for their contributions and leadership, and for being great Huskies."
Washington (3-1) announced Monday it was withdrawing from the championship game after determining the Huskies did not have at least 53 scholarship players available and did not meet the minimum number of scholarship athletes at specific positions.
Huskies coach Jimmy Lake said at the time that the entire team is isolating as a precaution and another round of testing was scheduled Tuesday. Lake said Washington did not expect to have any offensive linemen — scholarship players or walk-ons — available to play this week because of positive tests and contact tracing.
"Our goal every season is to win the Pac-12 Championship and win the bowl game. I’m so proud of our guys for how hard they have worked to put us in a position to achieve those goals. Unfortunately, due to the positive cases we have seen, specifically on our offensive line, we would have not been able to have a team ready to compete at a high level in a bowl game due to our return to play protocols," Head Football Coach Jimmy Lake "This is disappointing for everyone within our program and all of Husky Nation, but this is the right decision to make to protect the health and safety of our players, which is always our greatest priority. Our guys have given up so much this season, and I would like to thank them for how they have handled everything. I would also like to give special recognition to our seniors who poured so much into this program, we are so proud of them for everything they have accomplished on and off the field."
Washington’s protocol requires consecutive days of no new positive tests before the team can resume football activities.
"As we shared earlier in the week, we have taken pro-active measures to contain the further spread of COVID-19 in our football program," said Head Football Team Physician Dr. Kim Harmon. "After continuing our pause on all football-related activities, we are confident we have been able to do that this week. With that said, we have experienced a number of positive cases within a key position group. Due to our thorough return to play policy, we would have not been able to have a team that was ready to return to practice and safely prepare for and compete in a bowl game. Despite the aggressive protocols we created and implemented at the onset of the season, and have strictly adhered to throughout the year, we still found ourselves in this position due to the power of this virus."
Last weekend's game between the UW Huskies and the Oregon Ducks was canceled, the Pac-12 announced. The Huskies did not have enough scholarship student-athletes available for the game because of the number of positive COVID-19 cases.
That no contest result actual led to UW winning the Pac-12 North, but the Huskies weren't able to have enough players available to play.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.