Ohio University

Ohio University head football coach Frank Solich is seen before the Bobcats' 2019 game at Pitt. The Bobcats had their season opener against North Carolina Central canceled due to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's decision to suspend all fall sports. 

The Ohio University Bobcats were dealt the first cancelation of the 2020 football season. 

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference announced on Thursday the suspension of its fall sports season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The league hasn't made a decision yet on if any of its fall sports schedules will be moved to the spring semester. 

“The health and safety of our student-athletes continue to be our number one priority," said Howard University President and Chair of MEAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick in a press release. "We have made the decision to suspend all sports competitions after careful review of the current conditions and consideration of the potential exposure that regular travel to competitions may cause and ongoing extensive physical contact.” 

Ohio's season opener was scheduled against North Carolina Central on Sept. 5 inside Peden Stadium. North Carolina Central is a member of the MEAC. 

"Earlier today, I spoke with North Carolina Central University Director of Athletics Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree, who notified us that the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference would be suspending sports competition for the fall 2020 season," Ohio Director of Athletics Julie Cromer said in a released statement. "As a result of the MEAC's decision, our 2020 football season opener against North Carolina Central on September 5 will not be played as previously scheduled. I appreciate the outreach from Dr. Wicker McCree, and we agreed to continue discussions regarding future scheduling."

The Ivy League and the Patriot League have previously canceled their fall seasons, while conferences such as the Big 10 and Pacific-12 Conference decided to go with conference-only games for the fall. 

Ohio's schedule wasn't impacted until the MEAC's decision. The Bobcats' first scheduled game is now at Boston College on Sept. 12, with the first home game slated for Sept. 19 against Marshall. 

While the Mid-American Conference hasn't decided on any changes for the football season, the conference did announce on Thursday the delay of the start of the fall olympic sports season. 

Field hockey, men's soccer, women's soccer, women's volleyball and men's and women's cross country won't begin competition until Sept. 3. The delay is to give additional time for prepare for the safe return of athletes to competition. 

The decision aligns the start of those seasons with the start of football season. 

Ohio names captains for 2020 football season

The Bobcats might not be totally sure when their first game will be or what their season will look like. But when Ohio does take the field, it knows who its 2020 captains will be. 

The program announced six captains in redshirt senior wide receiver Cameron Odom, redshirt senior right defensive end Austin Conrad, redshirt senior middle linebacker Jared Dorsa, senior center Brett Kitrell, redshirt junior defensive tackle Kai Caesar and redshirt junior running back Julian Ross. 

"On a team filled with leaders, these six were chosen to lead us in the 2020 season," said 16th-year head coach Frank Solich. "They have the respect of their teammates and will represent our program in a positive manner."

Odom, from Bedford, Ohio, will be one of Ohio's captains for the second season in a row. 

Ohio football adds pair of transfers

Frank Solich's program also announced earlier in the week the addition of a pair of transfers to the roster. 

Quarterback Armani Rogers and defensive end Michael Taylor are now in the fold for the Bobcats. 

Rogers is a redshirt senior from Los Angeles, Calif. He is immediately eligible to play this season, and will enter the battle to replace the gradated Nathan Rourke. 

Rogers comes to Athens from UNLV, where he had 18 starts over the last three seasons. Rogers passed for 2,465 yards and 18 touchdowns, also rushing for 1,549 yards. That mark is a program record for rushing yards by a quarterback, as he also scored 18 career rushing touchdowns. 

The 2017 Mountain West Freshman of the Year in 2017 earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiological sciences in 2020, making him eligible for a graduate transfer. 

Ohio also has incoming freshman C.J. Harris and redshirt freshman Kurtis Rourke to compete with Rogers for the starting quarterback job. 

Taylor, a junior, will sit out the 2020 season due to NCAA transfer rules. He'll have two years of eligibility left. 

Taylor played in 21 games over the last two seasons at Villanova. He's a native of Rockville Centre, N.Y. 

Email at kwiseman@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @KevinWmessenger

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