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Mountain West Conference postpones the fall sports season; hopes to play football and other sports in spring

The Mountain West conference logo at the 25-yard line is seen prior to a game between the Air Force Falcons and Georgia State Panthers at Falcon Stadium. The Falcons won 48-14. Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Mountain West Conference has postponed its fall sports season due to player health and safety, the conference announced Monday. The vote to postpone fall sports were among league presidents.

“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our students, student-athletes, coaches, faculty, staff and overall communities,” said Dr. Mary Papazian, President at San José State University and Chair of the Mountain West Board of Directors, via a press release.

“Through the hard work of many over the past several months, the Conference made every effort to create an opportunity for our student-athletes to compete, and we empathize with the disappointment this creates for everyone associated with our programs. The best interests of our students and student-athletes remain our focus and we will persist in our efforts to forge a viable and responsible path forward.”

The hope is to resume college football and other fall sports in the spring of 2021, although there is no definitive decision yet.

The other sports affected (not including football, the biggest of them all) in today’s decision are men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball (with the exception of the unique circumstances involved with the military service academies). Last week, the league announced the cancellations of all fall competition that included: men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, softball and baseball.

“Since the start of the pandemic, our membership and staff have been working diligently to prepare for a fall sports season,” said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson.

“We were hopeful we could carefully and responsibly conduct competition as originally scheduled with essential protocols in place. 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.”

Thompson said in April that 85 percent of the conference’s revenue is generated from football alone, and that there is a “very little likelihood” there will be other sports played.

The Mountain West, consisting of 12 teams, joins the Mid-American Conference (MAC) as the second FBS conference to cancel its fall sports season, who voted unanimously to cancel it Saturday. Two other FBS schools — UConn (Independent) and Old Dominion (Conference USA) — have also decided to cancel their seasons, increasing the total cancellations to 26-of-130 FBS programs.

Last week, the conference voted to postpone the football season until Sept. 26. The vote elected to trim the football season from 12 to 10 games. consisting of eight conference (its normal amount) along with two non-conference games.

Other FBS conferences could follow suit in this groundbreaking decision. Ross Dellinger and Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated reported Sunday that multiple power-five conferences — including the Big Ten — have considered cancelling the 2020 season.

Several conferences in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division-II and Division-III programs have decided to scrap its football seasons. The NCAA announced last week that all D-II and D-III championships were cancelled.

This is developing news story so stay tuned for updates.