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Stony Brook’s Spring 2021 football season ends as opponents opt out

The Stony Brook football team in a game against Villanova on March 7. The football season has ended due to COVID-19 issues in opponent’s programs. KATHERINE PROCACCI/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook football team was able to successfully avoid COVID-19 problems of its own during the abbreviated Spring 2021 season. Despite that, the Seawolves’ scheduled six-game campaign will still end prematurely due to outbreaks among their final two opponents. The team was slated to play on the road against the New Hampshire Wildcats on April 10, and wrap up its season at home versus the Rhode Island Rams on April 17.

On Tuesday, April 6, New Hampshire announced that it would be opting out of the spring season due to ongoing COVID-19 issues within the program. The Wildcats have not played since their opener against Albany on March 5, being forced to postpone their last three games after a spate of positive tests. 

The following day Rhode Island announced that its program had entered a mandatory shutdown due to positive COVID-19 tests on the team. As the shutdown requires all team activities to be paused for 10 days, the Rams’ season was forced to end with the season finale scheduled just 10 days after the announcement.

“Stony Brook Football respects the decisions of UNH and URI to end their spring football seasons,” the team said in a Twitter statement. “With those the only games remaining on our schedule, we now enter our offseason. We appreciated the opportunity to play four spring games and look forward to our fall season opener on Sept. 4.”

The Seawolves end the Spring 2021 season with a 1-3 record after losing their first three contests. Stony Brook’s lone win came on the road in the Battle for the Golden Apple rivalry game against Albany, a 21-7 victory that saw the Great Danes opt out of their season days later, citing injury concerns.

COVID-19 has caused scheduling messes across the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) this season. Last week, only one game was played, featuring Villanova and Maine. The other four contests that were originally scheduled were either postponed due to positive tests on one of the teams, or canceled due to an opponent opting out.

“We were focused on finishing strong and heading into the fall with a full head of steam,” Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron said on Twitter. “Rather than add more uncertainty trying to schedule additional games, we can now begin our offseason program and lock in on the fall. We will be more than ready.”

Stony Brook is scheduled to play an 11-game season in Fall 2021.

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