Texas A&M Out of 2021 Gator Bowl vs. Wake Forest amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 22, 2021

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 2: A general view of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl logo at mid-field before the North Carolina State Wolfpack plays against the University of Kentucky Wildcats at the 76th annual TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field on January 2, 2021 in Jacksonvile, Florida.  (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Texas A&M has droppede out of the Gator Bowl due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl @taxslayerbowl

TEXAS A&amp;M WITHDRAWS PARTICIPATION IN TAXSLAYER GATOR BOWL DUE TO COVID-19 ISSUES<br><br>Full Press Release ⤵️ <a href="https://t.co/KsniwCVj7T">https://t.co/KsniwCVj7T</a> <a href="https://t.co/cyvH3Rb5jZ">pic.twitter.com/cyvH3Rb5jZ</a>

Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated first reported the news.

The Aggies were scheduled to face Wake Forest on Dec. 31 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

"We are disappointed that Texas A&M University and the Aggie fans will be unable to represent the Southeastern Conference in Jacksonville at this year’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl game. However, the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches and staff remains our primary concern" TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Chairman John Duce said in a statement.

The Gator Bowl is seeking a replacement, but Dellenger reported this would only happen if another bowl game was affected by COVID-19, leaving a second team without an opponent.

Dellenger noted teams do not receive a payout if a bowl game isn't played; the Gator Bowl's payout would be $5.35 million.

Texas A&M reportedly hadn't practiced in about a week because of COVID-19 concerns, with several athletes testing positive on Sunday and Monday, per Jeff Tarpley of 247Sports. The team met virtually on Tuesday.

Gator Bowl president Greg McGarity said on Tuesday that "everything is still a go for the game."

"We've been made aware of those concerns," he said of Texas A&M. "If there are any issues, we'll find out as soon as possible."

If it can't play, Texas A&M will finish its season 8-4 without the chance to win its fourth straight bowl game. 

At 10-3, Wake Forest has already clinched its first double-digit win season since 2006.