The nation’s oldest college All-Star game will not be played in 2021 due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. Organizers announced the decision on Tuesday.
The East-West Shrine Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 23, 2021, suffers from logistical issues which will prevent the game from happening.
“It’s terribly disappointing to have to cancel this year’s game, but there are so many issues involved with bringing in approximately 130 players and 25 NFL coaches from every corner of the United States and Canada,” said Bob Roller, the executive director for the East-West Shrine Bowl, on shrinegame.com. “It’s difficult enough currently for these college teams to provide some sort of a bubble during the regular season, but our game occurs after all players have gone home for the holidays. It presented too many potential issues for this one year.”
Both the NFL, and college teams (looking at you University of Florida), have had outbreaks of COVID-19. So, trying to get 130 players, 25 coaches and media members to St. Petersburg wouldn’t be easy.
Roller also added that players eligible for the 2021 game will still receive a formal invitation and “become a part of the historical 96-year tradition.”
Sadly, the smart move is to cancel the game. Organizers hope the game will be back in 2022.