Boston College opts out of bowl game to spend Christmas at home

Boston College, which managed to escape the worst of the coronavirus outbreak and the schedule and roster shuffling that has affected so many other college football teams, is passing on the opportunity to play in a bowl so players can spend Christmas with their families.

BC is the first school to forgo the postseason because of the pandemic.

BC was arguably the most successful football team in the country at navigating the COVID-19 outbreak, with one positive test all season — and that was in the final week. The Eagles (6-5, 5-5 ACC) played all 11 scheduled games.

First-year head coach Jeff Hafley said he could sense the strain of the unusual season on his players and called together his “leadership council” — one representative from every position group — to get a sense of how the team felt.

Together, they decided to pull the plug.

“When (linebacker Max Richardson) told the team that they’re going home to see their families, it was an uproar,” Hafley said. “At that moment I knew 100% it was the right decision.”

Meanwhile, four more major college football games scheduled for Saturday — including two with ranked Big 12 teams — were canceled, bringing the total to 10 for this week. No. 13 Oklahoma will not play at West Virginia because of COVID-19 issues with the Mountaineers. No. 23 Texas paused its football activities, calling off the season finale at Kansas.

Washington at Oregon also was canceled. The rivalry game would have determined the Pac-12 North champion and a spot in the conference title game.

In other virus news:

• The Major League Soccer Players’ Association says nearly 20% of the league’s players tested positive for the coronavirus over the course of the season.

Cal kickoff moved

The start time for Cal's game at Washington State on Saturday has been moved up to 1 p.m. The game will be televised on channels 2 and 40.

The Bears (1-3) are coming off a 21-17 upset of Oregon in Berkeley that knocked the Ducks from the Top 25. The Cougars (1-2) are hosting the school's latest regular-season game since 1929.

The forecast is for wet and chilly conditions.

• Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has recovered from the coronavirus and will race at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend after missing last weekend’s Sakhir GP in Bahrain.

Golf: Victor Perez shot 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the World Tour Championship in Dubai, the European Tour’s Race to Dubai finale.

Up to 60 players could be crowned Europe’s No. 1 with a win at Jumeirah Golf Emirates. That includes Cal alum and U.S. PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, who shot an even-par 72 and stands third in the Race to Dubai standings.

Obituaries: Paolo Rossi, who led Italy to the 1982 World Cup title, died at 64 in Siena a year after being diagnosed with an unspecified incurable illness.

• Alex Olmedo, who won the Wimbledon and Australian Championships singles titles in 1959 and was inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987, died Wednesday at 84 in Santa Monica of brain cancer.