Morehouse cancels football season due to coronavirus pandemic

Stephen A. expects more schools to cancel fall sports amid pandemic (1:40)

Stephen A. Smith expects more schools will cancel fall sports after Morehouse College did, citing the infrastructure needed to play during the pandemic. (1:40)

Morehouse, a historically Black college in Atlanta, announced Friday that it is canceling its 2020 football season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Morehouse also will not compete in cross country, its other fall sport, this year. Morehouse president David A. Thomas said the school would continue to honor athletic scholarships.

"I know this news will be most disappointing to our scholar-athletes, especially our seniors," Thomas said in an open letter posted on the school website. "I can only ask for your understanding and respect for the fact that the College is prioritizing your health and safety ahead of all else. We are committed to the principle that our athletes are first and foremost students."

Morehouse is believed to be the first scholarship football program to cancel its 2020 season. Florida Tech shut down its football program entirely in May due to the pandemic, and at least four games involving historically Black colleges and universities, such as the Southern Heritage Classic between Jackson State and Tennessee State, have been canceled.

Thomas said the decision was made with the health and well-being of the students and community in mind and that no decisions have been made on winter or spring sports.

"It follows my intention to maintain a safe campus in hopes that our students will be able to return in August," Thomas said.

Morehouse, which competes at the NCAA's Division II level, was scheduled to open its season Sept. 5 in Atlanta against Edward Waters College.