The Mountain West is considering an eight-game fall football schedule that would conclude Dec. 19 with the conference championship game, the sports network Stadium, citing sources, reported in a tweet Wednesday night.
The tweet also said such a schedule would allow the Mountain West champion to be eligible for a New Year’s Six bowl game and said not all conference schools might participate in the fall season, with Hawaii, Fresno State and Air Force the biggest unknowns.
Of the Mountain West deliberations, UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois said via text message Wednesday that “we are in continual discussions, with all options being explored.”
Air Force is already scheduled to play games against Navy on Oct. 3 and Army on Nov. 7 as part of the annual competition for the coveted Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which goes to the academy with the best record in the round-robin competition.
The league on Aug. 10 announced the postponement of fall sports, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. But the Big Ten announced Wednesday that it would begin its football season on the weekend of Oct. 23, prompting the Mountain West to consider reversing course.
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said in a statement Wednesday that the league hopes to return “at the earliest possible opportunity.’
The statement also said “multiple subgroups” are trying to craft a solution.
The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) adopted significant medical protocols and has voted unanimously to resume the football season starting the weekend of October 23-24, 2020: https://t.co/b5yHShGb1D
— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) September 16, 2020
“This includes finalizing a plan for frequent, rapid response testing and continuing to monitor the status of public health directives in our MW states and communities,” Thompson said.
Mountain West’s schools in California also present a challenge for the league as it eyes a return to play. Local health officials in California and New Mexico have not approved contact practices, thereby standing in the way of a possible return.
Schools in those states account for four of the 11 programs in the Mountain West.