EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – With the college football landscape changing by the hour, Conference USA’s presidents and athletic directors met on Wednesday night to discuss the status of fall sports in 2020.
The Conference USA Board of Directors released a statement following the conclusion of the meeting reading, “Conference USA membership continued evaluation, including robust discussion with medical experts, on Wednesday night. Myocarditis, mental health and enhanced testing protocols remain the focus.”
The meeting comes after the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mid-American, and Mountain West conferences have all pulled the plug on fall football in 2020. Additionally, Conference USA’s Old Dominion, UConn, and UMass have also canceled their 2020 seasons. As is stands, just 77 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs plan to play football this fall.
Conference USA announced last week that its board of directors created a plan to move forward with intercollegiate activity in the fall, including football, despite the growing concern across the college landscape over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conference USA’s current plan is for each of their member schools — with the exception of Old Dominion — to play eight conference games as previously scheduled. Schools will also be permitted to schedule as many as four nonconference games to fill a 12-game schedule — in essence, a full season.
Sources confirming to KTSM 9 Sports that Wednesday’s meeting touched on Old Dominions’ absence from the league this season, in addition to Rice pushing back their start date to Sept. 26. Those decisions will alter scheduling if the league continues to move forward with football in the fall.
If Texas’ decision to keep UTEP on their schedule as their lone nonconference game is any indication, it would appear Conference USA will cautiously move forward with a fall season. Texas Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte announced the Longhorns will host the Miners in their season opener on Sept. 12, a week earlier than previously scheduled. The trip to Austin would pay UTEP $1.4 million.
Fall camp at UTEP has yet to begin after four football players tested positive for COVID-19 last week. UTEP is re-testing their student-athletes on Thursday and will not take the practice field until those results are in.
It is unclear if Conference USA, or any league for that matter, will change their position on playing this fall, but as we’ve seen over the course of the last week, things can change in a hurry.