The Mountain West issued a vaguely worded update on the coronavirus and its timeline to return on Tuesday, avoiding concrete dates and making no mention of revisiting its decision to delay fall sports.
“Every effort is being made to overcome the existing multistate obstacles within this complex issue to enable a data-driven decision that maximizes the opportunity for the Mountain West’s student-athletes to compete,” the statement from the Colorado Springs-based conference said.
In hopes of resuming sports “at an appropriate time,” the conference said its board of directors, athletic directors, health and safety advisory committee, conference staff, coaches and student-athlete representatives have met frequently to consider scheduling models, medical protocols and management logistics.
The most noteworthy nugget for those hopeful for a speedy return to normalcy came in the statement that “winter sports and spring sports seasons are currently expected to proceed as originally planned.” The statement noted that this on-time return is contingent on findings of the NCAA Division I Council, which will meet Sept. 16 and also discuss the framework for rescheduled football seasons.
That was the only mention of football in the statement. On Aug. 10 the Mountain West joined four Football Bowl Subdivision conferences — the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mid-American — in postponing the football season with hopes of playing in the spring. Games for those forging ahead with their seasons have begun in recent weeks, including Army and Navy games this past weekend.
Air Force could stand as the only Mountain West member to play this fall, as it still has Navy (Oct. 3) and Army (Nov. 7) on its schedule. The academy has turned down requests for comment on the progress of following through with that two-game schedule.
In the Mountain West’s update, it noted that its decision to postpone fall sports was “based upon multiple challenges. Widespread and increasing prevalence of the disease in parts of the MW footprint, unknowns regarding the health outcomes related to the virus, testing capacity limitations and variable travel restrictions were among the primary considerations. Nearly a month later many of these same challenges remain, such as virus spread and the status of state and local guidelines, and continue to be beyond the control of the conference and its member institutions.”
Should the Mountain West find a way to resume its delayed fall sports, it will do so concurrently with winter and spring sports in “a robust spring offering.”