Notre Dame football cancels Blue-Gold Game as athletic department takes coronavirus precautions

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame has suspended its spring football activities and canceled its annual Blue-Gold Game, scheduled for April 18, as concerns over the spread of the coronavirus hammered the sports world Thursday.

Irish head coach Brian Kelly released a statement early Thursday afternoon indicating all Notre Dame teams not in their current competitive seasons have been suspended as well as part of the athletic department implementing coronavirus precautions. The football program later announced the Blue-Gold Game had been canceled on its Twitter account.

Notre Dame football players were scheduled to arrive back on campus this weekend following spring break, with the next practice slated for Tuesday. Kelly’s statement also indicated the football program will not host recruits on campus until further notice.

This comes a day after the university announced it was canceling all classes next week and suspending all in-person classes beginning March 23 through at least April 13.

“In alignment with the University of Notre Dame’s decision to suspend in-person classes and the athletic department’s decision to suspend activities for teams not in their competitive season, I have asked our student-athletes not to return to campus until further notice,” Kelly said in the statement. “With our student-athletes’ health and well-being at the forefront of our decision-making, and given the rapidly changing environment surrounding COVID-19, this is best for all the members of the Notre Dame Football family. In addition, we will not be hosting any recruits or recruiting activities on campus until further notice.

“Father (John) Jenkins and the university leadership team put a great deal of thought into the plan they laid out for Notre Dame, and I agree that our football student-athletes should take the same precautions in an effort to reduce the likelihood of the transmission of the virus.”

The Notre Dame Football Coaches Clinic, scheduled for March 26-28, has also been canceled. Notre Dame did not clarify if its April 1 Pro Day would still occur, though it seems unlikely given the recent developments. Multiple NFL teams announced Thursday they had suspended or restricted travel for their coaches and scouts.

According to Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, head coach Brian Kelly (pictured) took the lead in cancelling the final 14 spring practices due to COVID-19 concerns.