LAS VEGAS, Nev., -- All 12 coaches at Mountain West Media Days were asked -- again and again -- about vaccination rates inside their programs.

Craig Bohl has never been one to shy away from that subject despite the differing opinions of many around the country, including inside his own state.
"We have pushed vaccination rates really hard," Wyoming's head coach said. "It's not a political issue. Everybody can have different thoughts on it, but I do know if you want to play -- all the upheaval that we had last year with contact tracing and guys testing positive out of the blue -- if you want to play the best way to do that is to get vaccinated."
Bohl said his team is "well above 80%" when it comes to vaccinations and his entire staff has received the shot.
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said last Thursday inside The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas that if players don't get vaccinated they will have to test on a weekly basis and contact trace.
"There are consequences," Thompson reiterated.
Who will pay for that? Not the league, according to Thompson, who added that the MW forked over $4 million for testing in 2020. Member schools will now receive that bill. Where will the money come from? Bohl said that's the "million-dollar question" but didn't dive into specifics.
There will be no rescheduled games or postponements because of the virus this season. Instead, if there's an outbreak or contact tracing claims a game, the team will be forced to forfeit, Thompson said. That could mean big payouts for teams not able to fulfill television contractual duties.
“The No. 1 defense of the virus is vaccination," Thompson said, adding that eight of the Mountain West's 12 members have surpassed the 80% vaccination rate.
Bohl said his team hasn't had a positive test in "quite some time." There have been players who have chosen not to get the vaccine, he said. A plan will be crafted on how to maneuver through the season in hopes of avoiding contact tracing, but Bohl reiterated that unvaccinated players can still be on the roster and play in games.
"We've been pushing hard. Like, a foot up their butt," Bohl smiled, adding that the shot is not mandatory but encouraged. "... We respect their decision, but what we need to do is craft a pathway forward for that to be able to occur. There's going to be some logistical, I wouldn't say challenges, but differences. We have to have a plan to move forward."
Players who are currently vaccinated are able to use team facilities without a face mask.
"I have members of my family who are anti-vax. I get that," Bohl said. "I just know this, we are trying to win football games ... A great majority of our players have embraced that.
"We're trying to win. You need your best players and coaches to be in position to do that. The best way to ensure that is to get the shot."

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