The University of Virginia has joined league-mates Boston College and Pittsburgh in the group of ACC programs that will decline any invitation to play in a post-season bowl game, meaning the Cavs 2020 season has come to an end, according to a statement released by the university. 

Both Boston College and Pittsburgh finished with 6-5 records, Virginia was one behind at 5-5 on the year. While a bowl game likely was in the offing for each program, the destination likely would have been minor and, for Virginia at least, the daily grind of staying Covid-19 free and continuing to practice was not worth the struggle.

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The Cavaliers were one of only 17 teams across the country to play at least 10 games without being forced to cancel a competition because of virus protocols. Virginia athletic director Carla Williams had great praise for the athletes who made that happen.

“Unless you live it each and every day, it is impossible to understand the mental, emotional and physical sacrifice these young men have made since their return in July,” Williams said. “I am proud of their commitment and their incredible maturity. Our students did everything we asked them to do and they were rewarded with the opportunity to compete in the sport they love when many doubted it could be done. The life lessons gained over the last nine months will serve them well.”

Wahoos coach Bronco Mendenhall, who left the decision up to the players to play this season, put ending the campaign in their hands as well. The head coach was satisfied with the returns. 

I told our team I valued their feedback and I wanted this to be their decision. Just as we met at the beginning of the year to make the choice to play, this was their choice to end the season at this time. I think it is appropriate for this team.

They have all grown tremendously from the challenges put before them this year. But now is the time to return to families and loved ones. This team will always be special for how it handled competing during a pandemic. It is one more example of the amazing capacity and leadership of the young men that allow me to coach them every day.