When the University of New Hampshire announced Tuesday that its football program would not play its final two games this spring, it was the end of the season for most players on the UNH roster, but it marked the end of Brian Carter’s college career.
Carter, a fifth-year senior, said he will not return for the fall season and will pursue a career in health and physical education instead. Carter, a defensive end, served as a co-captain for UNH’s abbreviated spring season.
“A week ago, I was in quarantine because of a close contact and during that week in quarantine I sat myself down and gave myself the pros and cons of either staying in college for that last semester or starting my career, and it just came out that where I’m at now the best option for me is to continue moving forward and start my career,” Carter said. “I was going to give my all for these last two games, then, when we got the call that these two games were off, it just hurt a little bit more.”
After UNH opted out of the spring season, the University of Rhode Island and Stony Brook followed suit Wednesday. The Wildcats were scheduled to play Stony Brook on Saturday, and then conclude the season with a game at Maine on April 17.
“It’s just a situation that took off from the end of last week,” UNH coach Sean McDonnell said. “I’m talking last Friday to where we are today. The numbers started jumping off the chart, not only with isolation cases, which means you’ve tested positive for COVID, but also with the contact tracing with either roommates or people you were together with socially. It just kept getting bigger and bigger.
“The numbers spoke. I know it’s the right decision as evidenced by what’s going on in the rest of our league right now.”
McDonnell said he’s unsure when his team will be able to resume football activities. UNH, like all FCS schools, is in a dead period for recruiting as well.
“I don’t know what the future’s going to bring — what we’re going to be able to do in the summer,” he said. “I do know this: Whatever we can do, we will do to make our program better and give the kids an opportunity to get back to some normalcy as football players.”
McDonnell said for him the worst part of Tuesday’s decision was the inability to break the news to his players in a face-to-face meeting. Instead, they found out during a Zoom call.
“It’s gut-wrenching,” he said. “It’s not easy because they’ve invested an awful lot, as has our administration, as have our coaches, as has our staff. Again, there’s no blueprint for how you do this stuff.”
Carter said two team meetings were held Tuesday. The first was to tell the team the Stony Brook game was canceled, and the second was to inform the players that the spring season was over.
“When Stony Brook was canceled I was still hopeful for that last Maine game,” he said. “A rivalry game ... good note to go out on, but then we found out it was canceled. So tough all around.”