SOURCES: UW football preparing for ‘Friday or Saturday practice’
LARAMIE -- All indications are the Mountain West Conference is on the brink of reversing course on its early August decision to axe the 2020 football season.
"Optimistic" has been the word of the month since reports surfaced that the league was reconsidering its options. Things really ramped up when the league, and UW's new president Ed Seidel, released a statement Sept. 17.
"Due to recent advances in COVID-19 testing technology, and in light of the decision by the Big Ten Conference to return to competition in October, I am hopeful that we will find a safe path forward to get our athletics program back in business," Seidel said in a prepared statement. " ... Our athletics director, Tom Burman, and our Department of Athletics are working hard with their colleagues to bring the postponement to an end for the Cowboys and Cowgirls. We’re not able to announce anything right now, but be assured that we’re doing everything we can to make it happen."
New arrangements, which reportedly include an eight-game conference-only schedule and a title game to be played Dec. 19, might be settled by week's end, per national reports. League presidents are scheduled to meet Friday though Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports said the decision could be made even earlier.
If so, the Wyoming football team will be ready.
Multiple sources told 7220sports.com Tuesday that the program is currently in the process of preparing to start full-squad practices "either Friday or Saturday."
Individual groups (ie wide receivers, linemen, quarterbacks) have already been working together in Laramie. Players, according to sources, have also been told to be ready for practice and a potential Oct. 24 opening day.
Athletic directors around the conference held court Monday. Coaches have already agreed that a month of preparation will be enough, but nothing is set in stone as of yet, per reports. COVID-19 testing -- costs, effectiveness and availability -- is very much at the root of the hold up of the league's return-to-play, a source told 7220sports.com Tuesday.
Yahoo Sports is reporting that the league's medical advisory board is still weighing options whether or not to use "three antigen tests per week or two antigen tests and a PCR test."
In layman's terms, an antigen test -- or a rapid test -- is a nose or throat analysis that produces fast results. With that speed can come some inaccuracies, according to WebMd. A PCR test analyzes a sample to see if the virus is present.
Mixed reports have come out about which Mountain West schools would and would not be competing this fall.
Brett McMurphy of Stadium stated last week in a tweet that Air Force, Fresno State and Hawaii would be on the outside looking in. For the latter two programs, local restrictions were the issue. The Falcons were already set to play two games this season against military rivals Army and Navy for the coveted Commander and Chiefs Trophy. With the proposed league-only schedule, that would not be possible.
Then, McMurphy sent out this tweet Monday night:
Hawaii has imposed major travel restrictions while Fresno State still doesn't have student-athletes on campus.
If the Mountain West goes forward with a season, that leaves only the Pac-12 and Mid-American Conference without football. Reports have also surfaces that both of those conferences are working toward a solution to play this fall.
League officials speaking up
Fresno State isn't ready to throw in the towel just yet:
While we are being optimistic: