Multiple reports have come in that the Mountain West Conference will suspend its fall 2020 sports season and will instead attempt to resume in the spring.
The extraordinary move comes after weeks of speculation and concerns that moving forward with collegiate athletic events would exacerbate the coronavirus pandemic currently wracking the country.
According to 247Sports, league presidents have decided to cancel the 2020 season due to player safety concerts and health concerns.
“"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,” Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said in a statement. “We will continue to navigate this pandemic together, overcome the obstacles and return to intercollegiate athletics at the earliest opportunity.
The Mountain West Conference is just the second Division I conference to cancel the football season in its entirety.
According to a report by watchstadium.com, league presidents took a vote on Monday that ultimately ended the Mountain West football season along with other traditional fall sports like volleyball and soccer.
The report also states that the presidents wanted to continue to play in the fall but were flipped when more positive COVID-19 cases started to roll in and the Mid-American Conference decided to also cancel its season.
A source said in the report that “the health and safety of our student-athletes was paramount in our decision.”
This comes just a week after the University of New Mexico had decided on an eight-game conference schedule in addition to two non-conference games.
The scope of the ramifications for UNM is unclear. It is also unknown — but seems increasingly likely — if the Mountain West’s decision will set off a chain reaction that sees the college football season pushed back or canceled entirely.
The Mountain West released a statement on Monday afternoon that said it will look into the feasibility of rescheduling the fall sports season, “including the possibility of those sports competing in the spring and develop(ing) options for consideration.”
“Athletically-related activities and training opportunities for enrolled student-athletes will also be evaluated consistent with NCAA legislation and guidance, as well as state, local and campus parameters,” the statement read.
UNM Athletics Director Eddie Nuñez said in a statement: “While we are disappointed for our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans, we understand that today’s decision made by the Mountain West Board of Directors has the best interest of all in mind.”
Spencer Butler is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @SpencerButler48