HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Friday morning, the Mountain West held a press conference to discuss the announcement of their approved shortened eight-game season, scheduled to start on October 24th.
Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson says that he expects all of the member teams to participate in the 2020 season — after getting approval from State and local authorities.
The University of Hawaii is one of the main teams in question, due to the strict COVID-19 restrictions in the state, but Commissioner Thompson says that he thinks the 'Bows will make it to the gridiron in 2020.
“Hawaii has certainly been talking to their Governor and local health authorities and we’ve exchanged a lot more information just since this decision was made last night, with the president at Hawaii.” Commissioner Thompson said. “They certainly still have some steps to go, there have been discussions about the restrictions in Hawaii now, but I don’t want to get the cart ahead of the horse, but certainly were optimistic we will be able to resolve some things, so that a team can fly the night before a game, play in Hawaii and return home safely.”
The current restrictions in Honolulu does not allow gatherings for outdoor sporting events, but Mayor Kirk Caldwell said earlier this week that any exceptions for the Hawaii football team would come from Gov. David Ige.
A quarantine exception for visiting teams would also have to come from Gov. Ige, but the Governor’s pre-travel testing program is set to start on October 15th — the week before the season opener.
This would allow teams to bypass quarantine if they produce a negative coronavirus test, something Commissioner Thompson is working with local authorities on — to ensure that all team travel is done safely.
“Both states still have quarantines, if you visit Hawaii or New Mexico,” Commissioner Thompson said. “But working with local authorities on our testing policy, if there are any additional requirements or demands from those states, but we’re working all through those and hopefully get a resolution within the next month before October 24th.”
The Mountain West has partnered with Quest Diagnostics to provide all of the member schools with frequent antigen testing with rapid results — requiring all student-athletes, coaches, and personnel to get tested three times a week, with all tests recorded prior to each game.
Anyone who tests positive through the three weekly tests, an additional PCR test will be administered to confirm the positive result — there is no official number on the price of testing, but the Mountain West will cover the costs for all member programs.
Commissioner Thompson says that they are currently working out the details of the threshold for competition cancellation, but if a game were to be called off, there is no wiggle room in the season to reschedule — additional details on the Mountain West Championship requirements will be released soon.
The complete 2020 Mountain West schedule will be announced in the coming days.