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Morehouse College will not play football in 2020

The Division II HBCU from Atlanta will cancel their season due to Covid-19, and are the first NCAA-member program to do so.

Morehouse’s Derrick Hector, left, has a 2nd quarter TD pass knocked away by Howard’s Lanny Kelly, right, as Howard University defeats Morehouse College 30 - 27 in the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic at RFK Stadium in Washington DC, September 10, 2011. Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

UPDATE: Morehouse elected to cancel ALL of their NCAA and SIAC fall sports. School president David A. Thomas released a statement:

“Like all of the decisions we’ve made related to COVID-19, this was a difficult one but was made with the health and well-being of our students and community in mind,” school president David A. Thomas said. “It follows my intention to maintain a safe campus in hopes that our students will be able to return in August. Our Maroon Tiger teams travel to other NCAA institutions and cannot compete without breaking from social distancing guidelines still maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sporting events also invite individuals to our campus who will not be subject to the testing and monitoring that we plan to implement for our students, faculty, and staff.”

The first school NCAA member school to offer scholarships has ended their football season due to Covid-19, and it’s Division II Morehouse College. The HBCU based in Atlanta will not play games this fall according to Steven Gaither of HBCU Gameday.

The Maroon Tigers were scheduled to face Edward Waters College on September 5th to open the season as part of their 10-game slate. They are members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which has 11 football-playing members. Last year Morehouse was 4-6 overall and 2-4 in the SIAC. The conference is one of two HBCU-focused leagues in D2, along with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

They are the first college football program in America to cancel their season due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, and might begin a domino effect on other programs. The Black College Experience podcast says that the cross-country team won’t participate in sports this fall either.

HBCU athletic departments are often extremely underfunded, so this might not be the last cancellation. At the D1 level, both Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman University will leave the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference for the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2021, citing travel costs as a reason for the move.

Division III and non-scholarship Bowdoin College previously announced they were cancelling all athletics until at least January 1.