COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Mountain West Conference has followed the Mid American Conference and has announced the indefinite postponement of all scheduled fall sports. In a release Monday afternoon, the Mountain West says the indefinite postponed is in response to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, how to properly protect student-athletes, and how to move forward in the middle of an ongoing pandemic. The conference’s university presidents, known as the MW Board of Directors, voted to support the physical and mental health and well-being of the their student-athletes.
“While we are disappointed about the postponement of our fall sports and the opportunities for our student-athletes to compete, the safety and well-being of those student-athletes has been, is and always will be our No. 1 priority,” said John Hartwell, Director of Athletics for Utah State University in a statement Monday. “This has been a stressful time for our student-athletes with all the uncertainties regarding their competitive seasons, and even though sports will not be played this fall, we will continue to provide the resources necessary for their mental health and well-being, and academic successes.”
USU was scheduled to begin their season on October 2nd at Brigham Young University. With Monday’s Mountain West announcement, the Cougars only have three scheduled opponents for the 2020 season.
Just last week the conference announced it would play a conference schedule plus two non-conference games, with the revised Mountain West schedule beginning as early as September 26. USU announced it would be delaying its fall camp to Monday August 24th.
The fall sports affected by Monday’s decision include men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. However, the Mountain West has provided an exception to the Air Force Academy to continue to play its traditional rivalries with other service academies. Last week, the league announced that 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 would be canceled. The conference has not announced whether or not these sports could be rescheduled for the spring. They are also discussing winter sports, like men’s and women’s basketball.
“Since the start of the pandemic, our membership and staff have been working diligently to prepare for a fall sports season,” said MW Commissioner Craig Thompson in a statement. “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.”