Houston has been forced to punt on a major college football New Year’s Eve bowl game. The Mercari Texas Bowl game was canceled by organizers on December 29, according to a Twitter post. Organizers cite an increased number of positive COVID-19 tests within the Texas Christian University football program.
“While we’re disappointed in canceling this year’s game, we look forward to hosting both the Texas Kickoff and Texas Bowl next season,” said the event’s executive director, David Fletcher, in a statement by ESPN Events and Lone Star Sport Entertainment.
The TCU Horned Frogs were set to battle the Arkansas Razorbacks on December 31 at NRG Stadium.
Jeremiah Donati, the athletic director for TCU, said he was “disappointed” in the news and “heartbroken” for their student athletes, coaches and staff, WFAA reports. Meanwhile, Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman said this was “a tough way to end our season.”
Fans who purchased tickets for the game will be issued a refund by the outlet they were purchased through, including Ticketmaster, per a statement.
Mercari’s Texas Bowl is the latest college football COVID casualty. As CultureMap news partner ABC13 notes, the TransPerfect Music City Bowl was also canceled after the Missouri Tigers pulled out of the game due to their own rise in COVID-19 cases.
The Tigers were set to face Iowa on December 30 in Nashville, but Missouri canceled practice after an increase in positive COVID-19 tests and paused all team activities until January 2, 2021.