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Mountain West Provides Answers On Upcoming Season: Fans, Testing, Schedule

Utah State enters the field before a Mountain West football game against the Boise State Broncos at Maverik Stadium in Logan, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Chris Samuels, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After the Mountain West Conference decided to play the 2020 football season this fall, the Conference offered clarification and answers to some of the biggest questions facing a football season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mountain West Conference presidents and chancellors voted to play an 8-game football season. They will kick off the 2020 season on October 24. The Mountain West Championship game is scheduled for December 19.

This is all subject to approval from state, county and local officials.

Student-Athlete Safety And Testing

The Mountain West Conference announced a partnership with Quest Diagnostics to implement testing protocols for all of the institutions in the conference. The agreement provides access to frequent, rapid result testing.

According to Craig Thompson, commissioner of the Mountain West, schools in the conference will test three times per week. The conference will also pay the testing costs.

Thompson admitted that while there are eight games scheduled he doesn’t anticipate all of the teams to play all eight games because of COVID-19 spread.

If there is an outbreak on a team, daily testing will then be implemented.

Mountain West Conference Scheduling

Thompson expects a schedule for the 2020 football season to be released “in the very near future.”

The timeline of the season is eight weeks, with eight games scheduled in that time. The season is set to begin on October 24 and the championship game will be December 19, meaning there will be no time for postponements or rescheduling.

Fans In The Stands?

The Mountain West Conference is leaving the decisions of stadium capacity up to the individual member institutions and local and state governments and health departments.

Currently, Logan, Utah, home of the Utah State Aggies, is under the classification of “yellow risk level” which is considered low risk, but there are still limitations. The yellow restriction level requires groups to be less than 50 people.

“Group size may increase when the data shows we do not need as much social distancing,” reads the state of Utah’s coronavirus guidelines of the yellow category.

Utah State Athletics has not yet announced a decision on this matter.

Thompson also pointed out that at this point, he expects all of the Mountain West institutions to participate in the season.

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