The Mountain West will play an eight-game football season starting the weekend of Oct. 24, the conference announced Thursday night.
League presidents met Thursday and voted to start the fall season, which had been postponed Aug. 10 because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The Mountain West championship game will take place Dec. 19, a day before the College Football Playoff selections. The season and the ability to have fans in attendance are subject to approval from state and local public health officials, a source said.
The Mountain West has three schools in California, where state and local regulations on gatherings had been restrictive until recently. New Mexico and Hawaii have had similar restrictions. As of Thursday afternoon, San Jose State had not submitted a return-to-play plan to Santa Clara County, which is required to be approved before the Spartans can resume practice, the county said in a statement to ESPN.
However, all teams will try to play on the conference’s timeline, a source said.
The Mountain West became the second league Thursday to approve a fall season, as Pac-12 presidents approved a seven-game slate beginning Nov. 6.
Sources said the Mountain West is close to finalizing an agreement for daily rapid antigen testing, which many medical experts say can limit outbreaks and ease some of the obstacles of contact tracing. The Pac-12 and Big Ten plan to implement daily antigen testing at all of their campuses.
Mountain West teams will immediately transition to 20 hours per week of athletic activities and begin preseason practices, where allowed, by the weekend.
The Mid-American Conference, the only FBS league without a fall season in place, will have a presidents meeting Friday where a vote on a season is expected, sources said. The MAC, which on Aug. 8 became the first league to postpone the fall football season, is considering a six-game season to begin in November.