LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The University of Southern California Trojans have decided against playing in a bowl game this season, the team said on Saturday.
USC has already paused until January 4, all team activities in sports that are not currently in season.
The decision was reached by the USC medical team, Trojan staff and players, head coach Clay Helton and athletic director Mike Bohn due to several factors, and follows a recent rise in coronavirus cases within the sports program. There were also several player injuries that contributed to the decision, officials said.
“We are a student-athlete-centered athletics program; thus we fully support the decision to opt out of a bowl game this year. The physical and mental health and the safety of our student-athletes is paramount, and this season has been unimaginably taxing on our players in particular,” Bohn said.
The university’s men’s basketball team is currently in a 14-day quarantine as a result of a positive coronavirus case.
Since players were separated from their families after Pac-12 decided to resume practices and competitions in September, with USC’s decision to not play a bowl game, they will be reunited with loved ones.
“I am incredibly inspired by our players and the sacrifices they made these past six months to play the game that they love,” Helton said. “They did everything we asked of them to abide by the challenging guidelines they had to follow to stay safe and well, whether it was daily testing or keeping distant from family and friends or training in less-than-ideal ways. It has not been easy, and it is hard for anyone outside the program to understand how immensely difficult these past few months have been for them. We all share the desire to stay healthy and be with loved ones during the holidays and I fully support this collective decision. I thank our players for their remarkable efforts. We are all disappointed by how our season ended, but I am extremely proud of our players and it is an honor to be their coach.”