Mountain West approves in-person workouts and several cost-containment measures

Infielder Jeff Jamison (9) hits a 2-run home run in the fifth inning against UC Irvine pitcher Trenton Denholm at Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. (Armando Carreno/The Collegian)

In a virtual spring meeting on Monday, the Mountain West (MW) Board of Directors said they will allow voluntary in-person athletic workouts for all sports starting on June 1.

In a press release, the MW conference said they had an indefinite suspension of in-person team athletic activities since March 26, which has now been removed, but each institution will have the discretion to make their own decision within the guidelines outlined by the state and the NCAA.

The MW has a 12-person health and safety advisory group from each university in the conference to provide guidance for the return of athletics activities. Dr. Jean Linder represents Fresno State in that group.

“Given the unique circumstances in the locales of our campuses, it was the desire of the Board of Directors to provide member institutions maximum flexibility to engage in the return of athletics activities in accordance with state, local, NCAA and campus guidelines,” said Dr. Noelle Cockett, President at Utah State University and Chair of the MW Board of Directors. “The Mountain West Health and Safety Advisory Group will assist us in those efforts as we move from conditioning to practice and ultimately competition.

The MW conference has also approved several cost-containment measures to address the financial challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These measures include the conference operating budget being reduced by 18 percent, and conference staff salaries will be frozen and open positions will not be immediately replaced.

For on-field operation, they will be eliminating baseball, men’s and women’s tennis and women’s soccer tournaments, and reducing men’s and women’s indoor track & field and men’s and women’s golf tournaments from three days to two, and men’s and women’s outdoor track & field from four to three days.

Additionally, the conference has also said they will reduce baseball and softball series from three days to two.

“The Mountain West Board of Directors and Directors of Athletics have collaborated for the past several weeks developing potential options to address the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said MW Commissioner Craig Thompson. “The focus of this effort has been to protect opportunities for student-athletes and to maintain the intercollegiate athletics offerings at each member institution which are so integral to the fabric of the respective campuses.”

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