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Big Ten decision leaves UConn football two games short

UConn has to fill two holes in its football schedule after the Big Ten Conference announced on Thursday it will play only conference games this fall. 

The Huskies were supposed to play at Illinois on Sept. 12 and host Indiana on Sept. 26 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Both opponents are members of the Big Ten. 

The Big Ten made the decision to limit all of its sports to a conference only format in order to have the “greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic,” according to release from the conference. 

UConn is entering its first season as an independent this fall after leaving the American Athletic Conference. 

UConn athletic director David Benedict said in a released statement that the Big Ten’s decision will obviously have an impact on the Huskies' 2020 football schedule. 

He added: “It’s important to note that these cancellations have nothing to do with UConn’s decision last spring to become an independent FBS program. Both games were on the 2020 schedule before the decision was made and would have impacted UConn in the same manner, whether independent or not. 

“Many other FBS programs across the country have been affected by the Big 10 decision and we will be working diligently to ensure that we can fill the open weeks on our schedule, should conditions allow us to play a full complement of games.” 

UConn will likely seek out other independent teams or regional foes to plug the vacancies in its schedule. 

Ten games still remain on the schedule. 

UConn plays its season opener Sept. 3 against UMass at Rentschler Field, followed by Virginia (away, Sept. 19), Old Dominion (home, Oct. 3), Maine (home, Oct. 10), Mississippi (away, Oct. 24), Liberty (home, Oct. 31), North Carolina (away, Nov. 7), at San Jose State (away, Nov. 14), Middle Tennessee (home, Nov 21) and Army (home, Nov. 28). 

The Big Ten is the first Power Five conference to switch to a conference-only model but likely will not be the last given the continued uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic. 

g.keefe@theday.com

 

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