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MW commissioner Craig Thompson: Targeting on-time start for basketball season

Mountain West
Mountain West could still start on time, commissioner Craig Thompson said. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Five days after the Mountain West Board of Directors voted to move forward with a truncated fall sports season, those same directors voted to cancel the fall sports season with the hope of playing in the spring. So what changed?

"What was the tipping point that changed in five or six days?" Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said in a video release by the Mountain West. "There was really nothing other than the continued unknown. We heard about cardiac conditions and various studies. What's really interesting to me is every Division I conference, and certainly the FBS conferences absolutely, have very active medical groups and those groups are uneven and unsure of their comparative notes to each other. Different studies show different things, and it's amazing that intelligent people can reach different conclusions."

The MW is one of four FBS conferences that have pushed football to the spring and is joined by the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mid-American Conference. Thompson said playing fall sports in the spring would be difficult but possible.

"I think it's feasible," Thompson said. "We have a weekly call of the 10 FBS commissioners. As we sit here today, six of those 10 conferences are still planning to play in the fall, so they wouldn't play in the spring. The first question would be, 'What does the spring format look like?' meaning how many conferences would be willing to play spring football? Then you start to model it. For the last several months, many of us have said, 'Last resort. Only if we have to.' There are a number of models we can look at, but first step's first, which is who is willing and able to play in the spring."

The only sports Nevada sponsors not impacted by the MW's decision to postpone fall sports are men's and women's basketball. Thompson said the plan is still to start those winter sports on time.

"At this point, we're still targeting a November start," Thompson said of a potential basketball season. "Certainly the winter sports are on the second burner and the first burner is the continuation of what the NCAA is going to do with fall sports or jump those to the spring, etc. Right now, our plan is to start winter sports on time, but as we've found out in the last couple of weeks, last couple of days, things can change on a moment's notice."

The Pac-12 is the only conference to announce it will not play any athletics in 2020, meaning a cancellation of its non-conference basketball seasons.

"They have taken themselves out of play for November and December in men's basketball, particularity," Thompson said. "But that's not a decision the Mountain West has made at this point. (A final call would) probably (have to be made) some time in the late September time frame simply because practices are starting in early October with games scheduled for Nov. 10."

Here is the full interview with Thompson released by the MW on Thursday.

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