Mountain West to delay fall sports season due to coronavirus pandemic

The Mountain West is delaying its fall sports season in view of concerns encompassing the coronavirus pandemic, the conference declared Monday.

“We were hopeful we could carefully and responsibly conduct competition as originally scheduled with essential protocols in place,” Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said in a statement. “However, numerous external factors and unknowns outside our control made this difficult decision necessary.

“I fully understand the impact of this outcome on our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and staff who work so hard daily to play the sports we all love, and I share in their disappointment. We will continue to navigate this pandemic together, overcome the obstacles and return to intercollegiate athletics at the earliest opportunity.”

The Mountain West is the second FBS conference to defer football and other fall sports, joining the Mid-American Conference, which voted to do so Saturday morning. A source said the deferment is uncertain, however the Mountain West will look to the spring as a possibility for football and other fall sports.

“I think it’s the unknowns,” Thompson told ESPN on Monday. “It still comes down to effective mitigation of all the risks they’re facing. For many weeks, our group has been saying we just don’t see a path forward. There are just too many unknowns medically. That is really the focus: the unknowns in the medical world.”

Thompson said the board has tested the conference athletic leaders to see spring models.

“Can you put the fall into the spring? Can you play all of those sports? What does football look like in the spring?” he said. “For months, we’ve all been saying nearly the same thing — last resort, only if we have to. Well, for the Mountain West, it’s last resort and only if we have to.”

Thompson said the status of the student-athletes nearby will fluctuate by foundation, contingent upon the classes.

“We’ve heard — and I think it’s accurate — that probably the safest place for a student-athlete could be on campus,” he said. “Supervision, medical screening. Yes, the anticipation is they are students, and they will put a backpack on and walk across campus, depending on which model each institution uses.”

Thompson said that on Wednesday, the Division I Council will examine the qualification status of any student-competitors who aren’t playing this season. He additionally said this doesn’t really imply that people’s ball will be delayed, despite the fact that those winter seasons in fact begin throughout the fall.

A week ago, the Mountain West reported a football plan model that included eight gathering games and up to two nonleague games at every part’s carefulness. The timetable was set to start no sooner than the few days of Sept. 26.

Sources told ESPN on Sunday that most by far of Big Ten presidents favor delaying the fall season, however the association had not accepted an official vote as of Monday evening. Pac-12 presidents are set to meet Tuesday to talk about the latest wellbeing data around the pandemic and perhaps vote on the fall sports season.

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