Mountain West postpones fall sports season
Air Force football was expected to begin season Sep. 26
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The Mountain West delayed its fall sports season Monday due to ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a release from the Air Force Academy, the fall sports affected from the decision include: “men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball (with the exception of the unique circumstances involved with the military service academies).” According to ESPN, league presidents met Monday afternoon to finalize the delay. The postponement is indefinite, but the conference is looking at Spring 2021 as an option to resume play.
“The health and safety of our cadet-athletes, coaches, staff and community has been and will continue to be our top priority at the Academy, and was reflected in the Mountain West’s difficult decision to postpone fall sports,” Air Force Academy Athletics Director Nathan Pine. said in a statement. “My heart aches for our cadet-athletes, coaches and everyone who supports our programs but the announcement today is the appropriate course of action at this time.”
The Mountain West is the second Group of 5 conference to postpone football to the spring. The Mid-American Conference voted to delay their season on Saturday. The Air Force Falcons are coming off an 11-2 season, including a victory over the Cheez-It Bowl back in December 2019. Their 11 wins in a year was tied for the second-best record in school history. Falcons football suffered a big setback in June, when it was revealed Donald Hammond III, Air Force’s senior quarterback, was no longer a cadet in good standing. Hammond’s senior year on the Falcons is still in jeopardy, as the Academy has not given a reason or update on his violation.
The Mountain West was planning an eight game conference football schedule, and two out-of-conference games for a fall season before the postponement. There has been no update on a possible restructured season for Spring 2021.
“Air Force will continue to work closely with the NCAA and Mountain West on next steps because the physical mission is fundamental to our 47-month cadet development experience and competitive athletics and physical fitness are key components of developing leaders of character for our Air and Space Forces, even in the COVID-19 environment,” Pine said. “I’m pleased that Air Force will have the opportunity to continue to explore competitions against Army & Navy if conditions allow as we have similar physical missions across the Service Academies.”
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