Hawaii Bowl canceled less than 24 hours before game after Warriors say they won’t play due to COVID-19 issues

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Less than 24 hours before Friday’s Hawaii Bowl, Hawaii announced on Thursday that it will not be able to participate in the game vs. Memphis due to a rise in COVID-19 cases and player availability. 

“We are disappointed our season has to end this way,” coach Todd Graham said. “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.”

Shortly after UH’s made its decision public, Hawaii Bowl officials announced this year’s game was off.

The two teams were set to square off at 8 p.m. ET at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex — the temporary home of the Rainbow Warriors. It would have been Hawaii’s 10th appearance in the Hawaii Bowl.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes is the most important part of this decision,” said UH athletics director David Matlin. “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. We want to thank the Memphis Tigers for making the long trip to Hawai’i. We are disappointed we can’t compete on the football field.”

It’s the second bowl game to be impacted by the uptick in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant and other personnel problems. Texas A&M bowed out of the Gator Bowl due to quarantines, injuries and transfers. The Gator Bowl announced Thursday that…

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