AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) -Border Bowl VIII has been canceled due to a rise in COVID-19 in the area.
A cancellation release was sent out by The Border Bowl Committee Wednesday afternoon stating,
After consulting people in the medical profession, those inside and outside of high school football in the area, and respected members of our community, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Border Bowl for this season.
At the end of November, we received permission from our parent company, Nexstar, to host Border Bowl VIII if certain conditions were met to ensure the safety of players, coaches, staff and fans. Many of these conditions were focused on the Coronavirus Pandemic.
When we began planning this year’s game, we knew that COVID-19 would be a challenge, but we resolved to do everything possible to make sure these athletes play in January. We hoped the landscape of the pandemic would be more favorable closer to the game date. Therefore, we did not issue an early cancellation. We felt that an early cancellation would be selling our players and the Ronald McDonald House short as COVID-19 projections are constantly changing and could have been on a favorable track.
Unfortunately, the pandemic is still with us and things have not improved.
We have spoken with several key health care providers across our area. COVID-19 cases are on the rise. As a result, testing facilities are full of sick people who need the tests. For the Border Bowl committee to ignore this sort of information would be reckless and irresponsible.
We have done absolutely everything in our power to avoid having to make this difficult decision, but we feel that this decision is in the best interest of the tremendous amount of people associated with Border Bowl. Over the past eight years, we have overcome many obstacles that we thought impossible to overcome at the time. Those obstacles made us stronger. Border Bowl is one of the safest games in our area. Hosting this game under these circumstances would jeopardize that record of safety and put our participants at risk.
We live in a time where recognition is dwindling for seniors. That is why it is important to us that our Border Bowl players and coaches still receive recognition. Since we cannot host our pre-game dinner, we are planning a 30-minute Border Bowl VIII pre-game show, College Gameday-style, that will air on WJBF NewsChannel 6 on January 8, 2020, at 7:30pm.
During that program, we will recognize players and coaches of both teams with a deeper dive into Border Bowl.
In addition, Players and coaches will also receive their Border Bowl apparel and memorabilia. Players will receive their practice jersey, t-shirt and a certificate. Coaches will receive their pullover.
Please know that it is heartbreaking for us to issue this notice. It is a privilege for us to be a small part of the upcoming successes of our seniors. However, the health and safety of our participants will always take precedence over our passion for the game. This one of the hardest decisions we have ever made, but it is one that we hope you will understand.
The Border Bowl Committee
Check back with the WJBF website for updates regarding how to watch the Border Bowl VIII pre-game show.