NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Central Connecticut State University will not be participating in the Spring 2021 Northeast Conference (NEC) football season, the University announced Thursday.

The university’s administration and football coaching staff came to that decision after consulting with each other.

“We believe it is in the best interest of our University and football program to forego football competition this spring,” interim Director of Athletics Tom Pincince said. “This decision was not an easy one, and we realize our student-athletes, coaches, and fans may be disappointed. To ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes and to best prepare for Fall 2021, our team will partake in their traditional spring practice, with the goal of entering the Fall 2021 season prepared to compete for another NEC title.”

The last time the Blue Devils competed in football as Fall 2019. The Fall 2020 season was postponed due to the pandemic.

The Blue Devils said they will continue to abide by all health and safety protocols during the spring practice season, including Covid-19 testing and screening within all its athletics programs.

The NEC introduced a return to play plan in December 2020 to let fall conference teams have a chance to play and compete in the Spring 2021 semester.