Pitt rules out playing in bowl game
Pittsburgh’s win on Thursday at Georgia Tech made the Panthers bowl eligible, but they have decided not to accept an invitation to a bowl game if one is issued, following the rigors of a pandemic-scarred season.
Friday’s announcement from the school came one day after fellow Atlantic Coast Conference member Boston College said it would forgo any bowl opportunities this season.
Both schools, which finished the season with the required six wins to earn bowl eligibility, also emphasized wanting the players to have the opportunity to be around their families over the holidays.
Pitt’s decision “was made by the team and fully supported by the university,” according to the statement from the school, and the coach and the athletic director said they were “proud” and “thankful” for the players’ effort amid trying times this season.
Coach Pat Narduzzi said that in his “decades as a coach, I’ve never been around a group of players who have faced greater challenges beyond the field than our team this year. And yet, from the time they arrived back on campus in early June, these young men never wavered — not in the face of rigorous health protocols, multiple rounds of COVID(-19) testing each week or while handling the mental and physical challenges of playing 11 games in a pandemic.”
“I’ve always been proud to be Pitt’s head football coach. That pride was especially great in working with this 2020 team. They have my eternal gratitude and respect,” Narduzzi said.
The school’s athletics director, Heather Lyke, called the players’ sacrifice and commitment “extraordinary,” adding, “We are thankful and proud of how they handled the past six months and want them to have a well-deserved restful holiday season with their families and loved ones.”
Pitt (6-5, 5-5 ACC) wrapped up its season with a 34-20 win on Thursday. The program had been to a bowl game in five of the last six seasons.
–Field Level Media