A second FBS conference has pulled the plug on sports this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Mountain West canceled its football season and other fall sports on Monday over coronavirus health and safety concerns. The conference is considering playing football in the spring instead, according to Stadium’s Brett McMurphy, though no decision has been made.
The Mountain West is the second FBS conference to make that move, joining the Mid-American Conference — which canceled its season on Saturday. Both Old Dominion and UConn canceled their seasons individually, too, bringing the total number that will not play this fall to 26 of 130 possible teams.
The Mountain West had announced just last week that it had planned to play an eight-game conference schedule with two non-conference games starting on Sept. 26.
“Since the start of the pandemic, our membership and staff have been working diligently to prepare for a fall sports season,” Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said in a statement. “We were hopeful we could carefully and responsibly conduct competition as originally scheduled with essential protocols in place. However, numerous external factors and unknowns outside our control made this difficult decision necessary.
“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. We will continue to navigate this pandemic together, overcome the obstacles and return to intercollegiate athletics at the earliest opportunity.”
A chaotic day in college football
The Mountain West’s decision marks the latest in a chaotic day in the college football world.
Big Ten conference leaders met on Sunday to discuss the future of the fall season, and a majority of presidents and chancellors are reportedly in favor of not playing this fall. Several coaches, both in the Big Ten and out, have since called for the season to go forward as planned. A group of prominent Power 5 conference players all called for a players union and pushed to play the season in a coordinated effort on social media late on Sunday night, too.
President Donald Trump, along with several other politicians, even joined in on the calls to hold a season this fall.
The NCAA’s Division II and Division II announced last week that they won’t have fall sports championships, and more than half of teams at the FCS level have already said they won’t play this fall, too.
Both Big Ten and Big 12 officials are set to meet on Monday night to continue discussions on the coming season, and Pac-12 officials have set a meeting for Tuesday.
There were more than 5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Monday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and nearly 163,000 deaths attributed to it. The country has reported more than 53,000 new cases a day over the past week, and has seen more than 1,000 deaths a day during that timespan.
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