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Texas A&M drops from TaxSlayer Gator Bowl due to COVID, other issues

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Posted at 12:44 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 21:50:21-05

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M is dropping out of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl set for New Year’s Eve due to COVID-19 and other issues.

Wake Forest, the Aggies’ opponent, is currently looking for a replacement.

“It is unfortunate, but we just don’t have enough scholarship players available to field a team,” Aggie head football coach Jimbo Fisher said in a statement.

The university, in the release, said the Aggies couldn't "safely" field a team because of the combination of COVID-19 issues and season-ending injuries.

News release from Texas A&M football:

Due to a combination of COVID-19 issues within the Texas A&M football program, as well as season-ending injuries, the Aggie football roster is not in a position to safely participate in the upcoming Dec. 31 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl against Wake Forest.

“It is unfortunate, but we just don’t have enough scholarship players available to field a team,” Aggie head football coach Jimbo Fisher said.

“It is heartbreaking for our players, coaches, staff and fans that we are not able to play in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl,” Texas A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork said. “Post-season football is the pinnacle of the season and when the opportunity is lost, it hurts on many levels.

"As we have learned in the last 21 months of this health challenge, the well-being and safety of our student-athletes is paramount.

"Our players poured their heart and soul into this season and we appreciate their dedication as Aggies. Aggie football is on track for long-term success and we know that the best is yet to come.”

News release from Wake Forest football:

Wake Forest, ACC & TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Collaboratively Working to Find New Opponent for No. 17 Demon Deacons

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Despite Texas A&M’s decision to end their season immediately and opt-out of the 2021 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, Wake Forest is collaboratively working with the Atlantic Coast Conference, TaxSlayer Gator Bowl officials and others leaders across intercollegiate athletics to find an opponent for the No. 17 Demon Deacons to play in next Friday’s game.

Below are statements from head coach Dave Clawson and director of athletics John Currie regarding this update:

Head Coach Dave Clawson:

“While we are disappointed that we do not have the opportunity to play a talented Texas A&M football team next week in Jacksonville, our student-athletes and staff are still extremely excited and want to play in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl next week. From the Atlantic Division Championship to winning 10 games for the second time in program history with a program-record 15 student-athletes earning All-ACC honors, our student-athletes and staff achieved our team goal of going from ‘Good to Great.’ The hard work and dedication of our players and staff all season long elevated our brand of Wake Forest University and I am extremely proud of all we accomplished on and off the field during the fall semester. Our student-athletes, specifically our seniors, deserve this last opportunity to compete as a team for the chance to win a championship.”

Director of Athletics John Currie:

“I am proud of the competitive culture and strong leadership Coach Clawson and our student-athletes have developed in building Wake Forest football into a nationally-relevant and championship-level program. While we are disappointed that Texas A&M is unable to field a team, I am grateful for the partnership of TaxSlayer Gator Bowl President / CEO Greg McGarity over the past three weeks as we prepared for a memorable week in Jacksonville. With Wake Forest football fans again overselling our ticket allotment and poised for a huge turnout in Jacksonville we will exhaust all options to find an opponent and provide an opportunity for our No. 17 nationally ranked football team to compete for a final time this season.”

If the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl is canceled, ticket purchasers will automatically receive a full refund at their point of purchase, and no further action is needed. Please stay tuned to GoDeacs.com and Wake Forest’s social media platforms for the latest news and information surrounding the Demon Deacons football team's postseason game in the next 24 hours.

Ticket holders are encouraged to wait for the final word on the status of the 2021 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. However, purchasers who ordered directly from the Wake Forest Ticket Office and would like to request a refund regardless of new opponent, you may contact the Wake Forest Ticket Office at tix@wfu.edu or 336-758-3322 ext 1. Ticket holders are asked to have their confirmation number and/or account number ready and the name used to place the order. No action is needed if the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl is canceled as orders will automatically be refunded.

Ticket purchasers who ordered through Ticketmaster or third party websites would need to contact the entity they purchased from to request a refund. For fans who purchased through the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl please contact the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Ticket Office at 904-798-1700 or info@taxslayergatorbowl.com.