SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego State University will not begin any of its fall sports earlier than Sept. 26 due to the ongoing pandemic, the university's athletics department announced Thursday.
This follows guidance from the Mountain West Conference Board of Directors, which decided Wednesday to adjust conference team schedules to allow additional monitoring of ongoing COVID-19 developments and adjustments to keep student-athletes safe.
The SDSU Aztecs football team will shrink its schedule to 10 games and most other fall sports will only play conference opponents.
"The Mountain West athletic directors and the conference office worked hard to develop a game plan for fall sports that will allow student- athletes to have a great experience and take in to account their health and well-being," said SDSU Director of Athletics John David Wicker. "Starting the season later allows us the opportunity to learn from professional sports and other conferences and continue to develop the best protocols possible to ensure the safest return to play model possible."
The conference and school schedules align with the NCAA Board of Governors' directions, also released this week. The fall season will also continue to be evaluated in the context of the virus on campuses and within communities, and will be subject to directives from local, state and federal leaders.
"Should further modifications become necessary, including delay or cancellation of competition, the MW Board of Directors is prepared to do so," a conference statement said.
The football team, coming off a 9-3 season including a blowout bowl win against Central Michigan, is also dealing with a new but familiar head coach.
Head Coach Brady Hoke coached the Aztecs for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He took over for Rocky Long in the offseason.
"It is exciting to get some positive news about a football season, but the safety and health is the first thing," Hoke said in a statement. "It gives us an opportunity to make sure our protocols are in place for the safety and health of the student-athletes, the staff, the athletic trainers and everyone associated with the program. We will continue to be smart as coaches and players on how we proceed."
The SDSU cross country team is still awaiting an evaluation of its schedule. The men's soccer team -- which competes in the Pac-12 -- will compete in conference-only play, as will the women's soccer and volleyball teams, which both compete in the Mountain West.
All Aztec fall competition in the sports of men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, swimming and diving, indoor track and field, softball and baseball have been canceled.
"The health and well-being of our students, student-athletes, coaches, staff and overall communities remain the first and foremost priority," said Mary Papazian, president at San Jose State University and chair of the Mountain West board. "The modified fall structure supports the measures being taken by each of our institutions to ensure responsible return to play. We will continue to gather the best medical information available and lean on advice from public health professionals as well as state and local officials as we make decisions and necessary adjustments in the future."