LARAMIE -- It's on.
Forty-six days ago the Mountain West Conference canceled football because of unknowns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. League presidents Thursday night reversed course, voting to move ahead with a 2020 season.
For weeks, school officials, coaches and athletic directors peddled optimism. Statements were made, hopes were shared.
Now, it's a reality.
The conference didn't email a press release, instead saying it all in one :59 second video:
Here's what we do know:
- The Mountain West will play eight games
- Opening day is set for Oct. 24
- The league's championship game is slated for Dec. 19
- Disclaimer: Subject to approval from state, county and local officials
Wyoming doesn't need to worry about that.
Earlier Thursday, Gov. Mark Gordon addressed the public in his weekly briefing of the pandemic. There, he threw in his support for the university and the return of athletics. He even went as far as to write a letter to Craig Thompson, urging the MW commissioner to let the Cowboys play even if the rest of the conference teams couldn't.
In a conversation with Craig Bohl, Gordon said Wyoming's head coach sold him on the fact that the team was virus-free from June 1 until the initial postponement Aug. 10.
If social media posts are any indication, Wyoming will be joined by all 11 of its conference foes this fall. That includes Hawaii, a state that has strict rules about and travel restrictions when it comes to the coronavirus.
Many wondered if California schools would take part in the 2020 campaign. Eased state restrictions and weekly testing measures not only gave San Diego State, Fresno State and San Jose State the green light, but the Pac-12 also announced Thursday that its league would resume Nov. 6-7.
New Mexico also has plenty of hurdles to clear with local COVID-19 guidelines.
Here's a few things we don't know:
- The new schedules
- If fans will be allowed in attendance
- What exactly the testing, frequency and costs will be
Those questions could be answered Friday morning when Thompson, the Chair of the MW Board, a representative from the testing provider and Wyoming athletics director Tom Burman and others host a Zoom webinar at 11 a.m. MST.
A source familiar with the situation told 7220sports.com early in the week that the Cowboy football team was preparing for a full-squad practice "either Friday or Saturday."
The field south of the fieldhouse in Laramie should be heavily populated tomorrow.