Cincinnati announces FBS’ first coronavirus-related spring game cancellation


Cincinnati football is the first FBS program whose spring has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.  More than, likely, though, the AAC school won’t be the last.  In fact, far from it.

Cincinnati had been scheduled to play its annual football spring game April 10.  Of late, however, the state of Ohio has been among a handful of states in this country that has seen a growing number of cases of the COVID-19.  In fact, earlier Tuesday, the state’s governor, Mike DeWine, recommended that indoor sporting events be contested without fans being present.  He did, though, stop short of banning attendance.

Tuesday evening, however, the Cincinnati football program announced that its annual spring game (and fish fry) has been canceled.  That’s part of a broader plan that will see the university limit outdoor events to crowds of 150 spectators or less until May 1, 2020.

While the game has been canceled, Cincinnati will continue its spring football practice as previously scheduled.

“We are always going to put the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes at the forefront of any decisions and will abide by Governor DeWine’s recommendations regarding indoor athletics events on campus,” athletic director John Cunningham said in a statement. “UC Athletics is continuously monitoring COVID-19 in conjunction with our medical staff, University administration, UC’s Public Health Response Team and the American Athletic Conference. UC will continue to conduct home events and advise our teams to travel in a safe and responsible manner.”

UC added the following in its press release:

Bearcats student-athletes will be provided with guidance and recommendations regarding safety during spring break and their return to campus. Scheduled meet-and-greets and public autograph sessions with UC student-athletes have been postponed until further notice.

Ohio State, it should be noted, is scheduled to conduct its spring game April 11, the day after UC’s now-canceled game was set to be played.

Former Navy coach Niumatalolo joins UCLA staff

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LOS ANGELES – Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo is joining UCLA’s coaching staff as director of leadership.

The school said in an announcement Friday that Niumatalolo will serve as an advisor to the Bruins’ football staff and players.

Niumatalolo led Navy for 15 years and was the winningest coach in school history at 109-83. The Midshipmen, however, finished with losing records the past three seasons, including 4-8 the past two.

Navy played in 10 bowl games under Niumatalolo. He also was the only coach to win his first eight games in the storied Army-Navy rivalry.

Troy, Jon Sumrall agree to new 4-year contract through 2026

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TROY, Ala. ⁠— Jon Sumrall agreed to a new four-year contract as Troy’s coach after leading the Trojans to a Sun Belt Conference championship and national ranking in his debut season.

The school announced the deal, which runs through 2026, but didn’t release details.

The Trojans went 12-2 and won their final 11 games, second only to national champion Georgia, including the league championship game and the Cure Bowl against UTSA. For the first time, they finished a season ranked, ending up 19th in The Associated Press Top 25.

“When we appointed Coach Sumrall in December 2021, we challenged him to return Troy football to the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “It didn’t take long, as the 2022 season was the best in our FBS history.”

Troy held all 14 of its opponents to under their season average in scoring, beating UTSA 18-12. The Trojans beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt title game.

“Last year was an amazing accomplishment for everyone associated with Troy football and was the product of relentless effort from our players and staff, athletic administration and university leaders,” Sumrall said.