Another conference has put off football in the fall due to ongoing concerns around the coronavirus pandemic. The Mountain West announced it has indefinitely postponed all scheduled fall sports contests and championship events, including those for football. The conference is not giving up on football entirely, however, and will consider a spring football season next year. CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd previously reported that the Mountain West would not play football in the fall.
A release from the league said the board of directors "prioritized the physical and mental health and well-being of the conference's student-athletes and overall campus communities in its decision."
"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, chair of the MWC board of directors. "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."
Brett McMurphy of Stadium reported that Mountain West presidents wanted to play football, but became more hesitant after an increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases and questions about safety. Namely, Colorado State had been conducting an investigation into, among other things, complaints that the football program was not adhering to COVID-19 protocols. Other players within the program dispute the allegations, however.
Still, the postponement comes just five days after the league announced it would play its usual eight-game conference slate with each school given the option to add up to two nonconference matchups starting Sept. 26.
In response, Mountain West players joined their Pac-12 and Big Ten counterparts in releasing a list of "conditions to be agreed upon amongst the conference, coaches, and athletes in order to ensure our health, safety, and well-being." The Mountain West United movement included standards for testing and safety, eligibility and scholarship guarantees, and other player assurances.
The Mountain West's decision would means a total of 26 FBS schools have opted not to play in the fall. The Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference to cancel football for the fall over the weekend. UConn and Old Dominion have also elected not to play.