Hawaii withdrew itself from the Hawaii Bowl game late Thursday evening, a day leading up to the game.
The Rainbow Warriors welcomed the Memphis Tigers for a Christmas Eve matchup until a slew of COVID positive tests and injuries have stacked up to sideline players for Hawaii.
As relayed by USA Today, "about 20 players at Hawaii tested positive for COVID-19."
The report notes that Memphis traveled out to Hawaii on Sunday (Dec. 19) and prepared to play the game right up until Thursday’s cancelation.
"We are disappointed our season has to end this way," announced Hawaii head coach Todd Graham. "As competitive as we are and as much as we want to play the game, we cannot put the health and safety of our student-athletes at risk."
Hawaii AD David Matlin supported the decision to nix the context. "The health and safety of our student-athletes is the most important part of this decision," Matlin added. "The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has forced us to not participate in the game. We are disappointed for our players, coaches, and fans. ESPN and the EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl staff did everything they could for us and we appreciate their valiant effort throughout the week."
Tigers coach Ryan Silverfield also commented on the abrupt cancelation.
"We hope that Hawai’i players and staff get healthy soon," Silverfield mentioned. "I’m upset for our seniors and the rest of the team that battled this season to earn this opportunity. We’ve had [a] terrific time here in Hawai’i as a program and we are sad our trip ended this way."