There'll be no bowl game for TCU this year, as organizers of the Mercari Texas Bowl in Houston canceled the game on December 29, citing an increased number of positive COVID-19 tests within the Horned Frogs' football program.
The TCU Horned Frogs were set to battle the Arkansas Razorbacks on December 31 at Houston's NRG Stadium.
TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati said in a Facebook post December 29 that he was “disappointed” in the news and “heartbroken” for their student athletes, coaches, and staff, but that — in the past 24 hours, between COVID-related issues, injuries, and other circumstances — the team had "fallen below the established Big 12 threshold of availability" that they had abided by all season. According to the Star-Telegram, that threshold calls for 53 players to be eligible, including at least seven offensive linemen, four defensive linemen, and one quarterback.
"While we have experienced these issues all season, the past 24 hours have been too much to overcome on such short notice for Thursday's game," he said.
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.
“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 statement by ESPN Events and Lone Star Sport Entertainment.
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.
At least local college football fans still have the Rose Bowl, which has moved out of California and into AT&T Stadium in Arlington on New Year's Day. The Cotton Bowl will still be played at AT&T Stadium on December 30.