After the BIG 10 made the announcement this past week that they will resume their season on October 24th, there was a lot of speculation as to whether or not the Mountain West would do the same and well, they have started discussions.
Mountain West “aggressively exploring” options for 8-game fall season culminating w/Dec. 19 MW title game, sources told @Stadium. This allows league to be eligible for NY6 bowls. Not all schools might play w/Hawaii, Fresno & Air Force biggest unknowns for full season, source said— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 17, 2020
Mountain West coaches such as Bryan Harsin of Boise State are putting pressure on the Mountain West to make the decision to resume the season. A month after the Mountain West postponed their fall season to the Spring and made no indication of revisiting the issue, the Mountain West is no aggressively pursuing an eight game conference schedule. A decision on whether the season will resume or not may occur on Thursday, per Yahoo Sports, as their is a Presidents meeting on that day.
The earliest start date for the Mountain West would likely be October 24th, the same as the BIG 10. An immediate return to play would not be possible as teams especially in California have not been able to practice and pre-season camps were disrupted so their needs to be time for teams to get ready. There is also other factors involved as well, such as a broker deal for daily rapid testing. While it is unclear if this would be needed to resume play, this was a big factor in the BIG 10 returning to play and the PAC-12 joining discussions of playing, so if the Mountain West was to make a deal for daily rapid testing, that would only improve the chances of returning to the field and coaches and athletic directors are optimistic.
Another factor is the local protocols in California and Hawaii as both of these would need to be relaxed for a return to play. California has allowed a return to practice and will not inhibit the start of the season as Governor of California of California Gavin Newsom has already stated, however there is complications with traveling to Hawaii in terms of quarantining so those protocols would need to be loosened if Hawaii was going to participate in the season.
Craig Thompson also released a statement that provided more optimism for the start of the season.
September 16, 2020
They key in this statement is frequent rapid testing. It is unclear whether this means daily, but it should be a strong factor come decision time.
There are various other factors in determining whether or not the season will start up and while no official decision has been made, the Presidents call is on Thursday and that will be an important day because a decision on the season could likely be made on the very same day or a day or two after the call. It is unknown whether the conference has established protocols in place yet for a fall season and if the Mountain West can come up with a plan that works like the BIG 10 did, the chance of a return to play would only increase. More news will come in the coming days on the decisions the Mountain West makes.