Morehouse College, a historically Black college in Atlanta, announced Friday that it is canceling its 2020 football season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Morehouse also will not compete in cross country, its other fall sport, this year. Morehead president David A. Thomas said the school would continue to honor athletic scholarships.
“I know this news will be most disappointing to our scholar-athletes, especially our seniors,” Thomas said in an open letter posted on the school website. “I can only ask for your understanding and respect for the fact that the College is prioritizing your health and safety ahead of all else. We are committed to the principle that our athletes are first and foremost students.”
Morehouse is believed to be the first scholarship football program to cancel its 2020 season, although at least four games involving HBCU schools, such as the Southern Heritage Classic between Jackson State and Tennessee State, have been canceled.
Thomas wrote that the decision was made with the health and well-being of the students and community in mind and that no decisions have been made on winter or spring sports.
“It follows my intention to maintain a safe campus in hopes that our students will be able to return in August,” Thomas said.
Morehouse, which competes at the NCAA’s Division II level, was scheduled to open its season Sept. 5 in Atlanta against Edward Waters College.