Dave Portnoy laments cancelation of Barstool-sponsored Arizona Bowl


College football’s bowl season has gotten off to a rocky start with several games canceled or postponed. The Arizona Bowl became the latest casualty Monday with presenting sponsor Barstool Sports announcing the game, scheduled for Friday at 2 PM ET, had been called off.

Boise State withdrew, citing the team’s recent COVID outbreak, leaving Central Michigan, who had already arrived in Tucson, without an opponent. After weighing its options, Central Michigan instead accepted an invite to compete in Friday’s Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl against Washington State. The Chippewas were chosen to replace the University of Miami, who didn’t have enough players due to COVID.

Beyond its sponsorship agreement with the Arizona Bowl, Barstool also owned the game’s exclusive broadcast rights. With Boise ravaged by COVID and Central Michigan defecting for a more lucrative opportunity in El Paso, that plan obviously went up in smoke, much to the chagrin of Barstool’s founder and face of the company, Dave Portnoy.

The 44-year-old lamented the Arizona Bowl’s cancelation as a missed opportunity, while vowing that Barstool, despite the financial hit it took sponsoring an event that ultimately never took place, will continue to grow. Portnoy, who has long been a polarizing figure in sports media, also addressed his critics, scolding those who took a victory lap over the game’s cancelation.

It’s been a nightmare month for bowl organizers with four games (the Arizona, Fenway, Military and Hawaii Bowls) already scrapped and two others (the Gator and Sun Bowls) featuring replacement teams. The NCAA announced last week that teams unable to field enough players for the College Football Playoffs this weekend could be subject to forfeit, potentially costing them a chance to play in the National Championship a week from Monday.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Cliff Hawkins, Getty Images