The Mountain West Conference announced on Thursday, Sept. 24 that college football will return before the spring semester.
In a statement released on the Mountain West’s official Twitter, it states that the season will begin on Oct. 24, with the conference championship game on Dec. 19.
New University of New Mexico football head coach Danny Gonzales posted a statement to the Lobo football Twitter just after the announcement espousing excitement for the upcoming — and seemingly unexpected — fall season.
“We are excited about the opportunity to compete and represent our University, the city of Albuquerque and the great state of New Mexico!” Gonzales said.
The season will be eight games in length and will consist exclusively of conference play, meaning that no team outside of the Mountain West will host a MWC team or vice versa.
The announcement of the fall season’s earlier-than-expected restart comes after the Mountain West suspended fall sports indefinitely on Aug. 10, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the suspension.
However, hints that the Mountain West would begin to play games during the fall semester had been growing by the day.
In particular, a Sept. 16 press release from Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson stated that “subgroups within the Conference are working daily on solutions to the existing challenges in order to facilitate a return to play for Mountain West football.”
More information will be relayed to the public on Friday, according to the official Mountain West website.
UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez also released a statement to the Lobo athletics Twitter account, in which he said, “We are confident that we can find a safe path back to the field for our student-athletes.”
It is currently unknown how UNM will be permitted to hold home games, as under current COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Department of Health, New Mexico cannot host any football games.
This is a developing story. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
Spencer Butler is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SpencerButler48