Mountain West Conference officials are optimistic the league will vote this week for its football programs to return to the field, sources told Yahoo Sports on Monday.
The league’s athletic directors met on Monday and discussed with conference officials the final steps in returning, including a testing plan that involves frequent antigen testing. The final plan still needs to be approved by Mountain West Conference presidents, who have a scheduled meeting for Friday but could end up voting earlier, sources said.
The league is aiming to return to play on Oct. 24 and execute an eight-game league schedule that would culminate in a Mountain West Conference title game on Dec. 19.
That schedule would likely allow the Mountain West to compete for a New Year’s Six Bowl, as its schedule would sync up with that of the Big Ten. It’s impossible to imagine the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six bowls operating without the Big Ten, which would mean the Mountain West operating on the same timeline would enter them in the conversation.
The league’s last imposing hurdle to return to play was a COVID-19 testing plan. The plan presented on the call on Monday night didn’t incorporate daily rapid testing like the Big Ten, but it did involve frequent antigen testing that would offer timely and effective ways to make sure the virus doesn’t spread within the league’s programs.
It’s unknown when the league presidents could end up voting. If they were able to vote prior to Friday, it would allow a few precious days for programs to ramp up and essentially give them one month until kickoff.
Schools are in varied levels of preparedness, sources said, as much of that is contingent on the local restrictions tied to the virus.
The Mountain West voted to postpone the season on Aug. 10. It’d become the second conference to reverse course after the Big Ten’s decision to return to the field last week.
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