The 2020 Mercari Texas Bowl has been canceled, ESPN Events announced on Tuesday.
The Mercari Texas Bowl was set to feature the Arkansas Razorbacks of the SEC against the TCU Horned Frogs of the Big 12 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Thursday, Dec. 31, but the Horned Frogs had to withdraw from the game due to novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) issues.
“While we are disappointed in canceling this year’s game, we look forward to hosting both the Texas Kickoff and Texas Bowl next season,” said David Fletcher, executive director of the Texas Bowl. “We appreciate everyone’s support, including our new title sponsor, Mercari.”
Arkansas closes the 2020 season 3-7 overall in their first year under head coach Sam Pittman. The Razorbacks are scheduled to open the 2021 season on Saturday, Sept. 4 at home at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark., against the Rice Owls.
“We are very disappointed not to get the opportunity to compete again as a team,” Arkansas Head Coach Sam Pittman said. “We were excited and wanted to go play TCU in the Texas Bowl, but we certainly understand the issues in the TCU program. We had no positive tests from yesterday and were ready to go to Houston this afternoon with a healthy team. Our team and our student-athletes have sacrificed a lot over the last several months, including over the holidays, so this is a tough way to end our season. I’m so proud of our team for fighting and handling themselves through adversity all year.”
TCU finishes their season 6-4 overall and 5-4 in Big 12 action.
“Over the last 24 hours, between a combination of COVID-19 related issues, injuries and other circumstances, we have fallen below the established Big 12 Conference threshold for student-athlete availability that we have abided by all season,” TCU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jeremiah Donati said.” As such, we very regrettably will not be able to participate in Thursday night’s Mercari Texas Bowl against Arkansas.
“Health and safety considerations for our student-athletes are always our top priority. Our entire football program, from our student-athletes to coaches and staff, is incredibly saddened, disappointed and heartbroken. We are very appreciative of the Mercari Texas Bowl for the invitation to participate in this year’s game. While we have experienced these issues all season, the past 24 hours have been too much to overcome on such short notice for Thursday’s game.
“I am very proud of our student-athletes and coaches for how they finished the season with victories in five of our last six games. We were playing our best football and are excited about the momentum we have going into the 2021 season. We appreciate the commitment, dedication and perseverance of our student-athletes, coaches and everyone in our football program this season.”