SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The Mountain West Conference, which includes San Diego State, announced Monday it was postponing its football and other fall sports season indefinitely because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since the start of the pandemic, our membership and staff have been working diligently to prepare for a fall sports season,” said Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson.
“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.”
The conference’s Board of Directors said in a statement Monday that it “prioritized the physical and mental health and well-being of the conference’s student-athletes and overall campus communities” in its decision.
“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our students, student-athletes, coaches, faculty, staff and overall communities,” said Mary Papazian, president at San Jose State University and chair of the Mountain West board.
“Through the hard work of many over the past several months, the conference made every effort to create an opportunity for our student-athletes to compete, and we empathize with the disappointment this creates for everyone associated with our programs,” she said. “The best interests of our students and student-athletes remain our focus and we will persist in our efforts to forge a viable and responsible path forward.”
The fall sports affected by Monday’s decision are football, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross-country.
The Mountain West Conference will also begin to explore the feasibility of rescheduling fall sports competition, including the possibility of those sports competing in the spring, the statement said.
“Although today is a difficult day, we know that we are making changes to the schedule for the safety and health of the players, and that is always the right thing to do,” San Diego State football coach Brady Hoke said.
“I am very disappointed for our student-athletes. They were excited in their commitment and preparation for the upcoming season. Now we are going to have to readjust.”
There are ongoing discussions regarding the status of winter sports, according to a Mountain West statement.
The conference had announced Wednesday that it was planning to delay the start of play in football and other fall sports to no earlier than the week ending Sept. 26. It also reduced each team’s regular season in football from 12 to eight conference games plus up to two nonconference games if so desired.
The conference also announced Wednesday that all fall competition in men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, softball and baseball had been canceled.
San Diego State’s men’s soccer team plays in the Pac-12 Conference, which has not decided on fall sports. The Pac-12 CEO group, made up of the president or chancellor from each of the conference’s 12 universities, will meet Tuesday and is expected to discuss and vote on how to proceed with the 2020 football season. It is unclear at this time how that will impact other fall sports.