Virginia Tech currently has the longest active bowl streak in the nation with 27 consecutive years in the postseason, but the Hokies have joined the growing list of programs deciding to shut it down and opt out of a bowl in 2020.
The Hokies are 5-6 on the year but eligible to play in a bowl thanks to the NCAA's ruling prior the season removing the traditional bowl eligibility rules for one year only. However, given the ongoing challenges of holding practices and competition during the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has decided to shut it down for the year.
According to Hokies head coach Justin Fuente, the decision came from the players. He said on Wednesday that there were some wanted to play in a bowl game, but most did not.
"Our players have decided not to play [in a bowl] and I'm going to support them 100%," Fuente said, later adding "I think they've sacrificed enough."
The impact of COVID-19 on the Virginia Tech season was significant, beginning with a delayed start to the 2020 season and including multiple weeks where the Hokies were down more than 20 players because of positive tests and ensuing contact tracing. In a press conference on Tuesday, Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock estimated that three-fourths of the team contracted COVID-19 during the season. Babcock held that availability as a means of announcing and reaffirming the school's commitment to Fuente as head coach following speculation that a change might be in order given the disappointments of the sub-.500 season.
At this time, Virginia Tech is the fifth ACC team to announce it will not be participating in the postseason. Virginia, Pitt, Boston College and Georgia Tech all made similar decisions, citing the wear and tear on the players from a season full of COVID-19-related challenges and the desire to allow them to spend the holidays with family.