2020 Mountain West Football Season to Begin on October 24
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Mountain West Conference Board of Directors met last night and approved plans to resume football competition following the Aug. 10 indefinite postponement of fall sports due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Conference’s amended regular-season schedule will begin on Saturday, Oct. 24, with the intent to play eight games. The MW Football Championship Game is slated for Saturday, Dec. 19. Any return to competition is subject to state, county and local approvals.
The Mountain West has partnered with Quest Diagnostics to implement testing protocols across all member institutions. The agreement with Quest delivers frequent testing with rapid results, providing a major step forward for sport competition to resume. The Mountain West will require all football student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other individuals that are on the field to undergo testing three times per week. Test results must be completed and recorded prior to each game. Student-athletes who test positive for the coronavirus through point of contact (POC) testing would require a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result of the POC test.
“The health and well-being of our student-athletes continue to guide all decisions,” said Dr. Mary Papazian, San José State University President and Chair of the MW Board of Directors. “The availability of rapid testing addresses one of the main concerns that was expressed by our Board, the MW Health and Safety Advisory Committee, as well as by student-athletes and coaches. Our student-athletes have voiced their desire to compete, and it is the Board’s shared opinion that football can be conducted with appropriate mitigation. We continue to learn more about the virus each day and will continue to monitor the pandemic moving forward. We will be ready to change course if necessary should new information come forth, or we feel an appropriate environment cannot be sustained on our campuses.”
The MW is in the process of finalizing thresholds for competition interruption, monitoring test results, and other health and safety protocols that are consistent with NCAA resocialization guidelines.
“This is a great opportunity to get our student-athletes back on the field of competition in a cautious and regulated fashion,” commented MW Commissioner Craig Thompson. “We appreciate the efforts our Board, Directors of Athletics, Health and Safety Advisory Committee and Conference staff have put into developing the necessary parameters for our students-athletes to return to competition. The rapid testing element was critical for us to provide an effective solution for our athletes, coaches, officials and event staff.”
Stadium capacities will be determined by each member institution in accordance with state, county and local health ordinances in consultation with government officials. A complete 2020 Mountain West football schedule will be forthcoming.
“We are excited about the opportunity to compete and represent our University, the city of Albuquerque and the great state of New Mexico!” said first-year head coach Danny Gonzales.
“We are excited about the decision to return to football made by the Mountain West Conference,” said director of athletics Eddie Nuñez. “We are confident that we can find a safe path back to the field for our student-athletes. Lobo Football is back and the Danny Gonzales era is here!”
The Lobos will enter the 2020 season under Gonzales, who came to UNM after spending the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Arizona State. Prior to that he worked under Rocky Long at San Diego State. Gonzales, who played and coached at UNM, was able to coax Long back to UNM to serve as his defensive coordinator.