Mountain West football plans to start season Sept. 26 because of coronavirus pandemic

The Mountain West Conference announced plans Wednesday to have its football teams play an eight-game conference schedule and up to two non-conference games.

The football season will start no earlier than Sept. 26.

The Mountain West championship game, scheduled for Dec. 5 at the home stadium of the division winner with the best record, could be pushed back to Dec. 12 or 19 if a coronavirus outbreak delays conference games.

San Jose State has already lost non-conference football games with Penn State of the Big Ten and independent UConn, which canceled its entire football season Wednesday. San Jose State, coming off a 5-7 season, was scheduled to open the season Sept. 5 at Central Michigan.

The conference says its revised fall sports plan will align with the requirements announced Wednesday by the NCAA Board of Governors. Officials will track the virus on each school’s campus and communities, and alter the conference’s plan accordingly — including the possibility of delaying or canceling games.

Olympic sports in the conference will play only within the league and competition will also begin Sept. 26. Women’s soccer and women’s volleyball champions will be determined by regular-season competition, while options for men’s and women’s cross country continue to be reviewed.

All fall competition in the sports of men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, swimming and diving, indoor track and field, softball and baseball has been canceled.

“The health and well-being of our students, student-athletes, coaches, staff and overall communities remain the first and foremost priority,” read a statement from Dr. Mary Papazian, president of San José State University and chair of the Mountain West Board of Directors. “An incredible amount of thought and discussion from multiple perspectives went into making this decision. The modified fall structure supports the measures being taken by each of our institutions to ensure responsible return to play. We will continue to gather the best medical information available and lean on advice from public health professionals, as well as state and local officials, as we make decisions and necessary adjustments in the future.”

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Author: Ted Ward