The August 10 decision by the Mountain West Board of Directors to postpone 2020 fall sports and MW championship events due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis 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.
Within that environment, however, the Mountain West has been working diligently to identify a viable path forward to resume athletic competition at the appropriate time. Physical and mental health and well-being for the Conference’s student-athletes and staff remains the priority in these efforts. The MW Board of Directors, Athletic Directors, Health & Safety Advisory Committee, Conference staff, institutional athletics administrators, coaches and student-athlete representatives have been meeting frequently to consider new scheduling models, enhanced medical protocols and revised management plans that can facilitate a responsible return to play.
These concepts are being adapted to fit within NCAA parameters expected to be acted upon by the NCAA Division I Council during its September 16 meeting, including frameworks for football, men’s & women’s basketball and rescheduled fall sports. Other winter sports and spring sports seasons are currently expected to proceed as originally planned and would be conducted concurrently with the rescheduled sports in what would be a robust spring offering. On a parallel track, negotiations are ongoing to secure the necessary testing arrangements and put in place appropriate health guidelines. Every effort is being made to overcome the existing multi-state obstacles within this complex issue to enable a data-driven decision that maximizes the opportunity for the Mountain West’s student-athletes to compete.