Sports Desk: Mountain West Conference releases revised plan for fall sports

Local Sports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Mountain West Conference announced Wednesday its plan for fall sports 2020. They say they’re going to delay the start of fall sports to the week of September 26, with football going to a ten-game schedule.

MW Football will now have eight conference games with two non-conference games on their schedule. This includes the University of New Mexico, who will now have to determine which of their current three non-conference games, Idaho State, UMass, or New Mexico State University, will be played in their ten-game schedule. The team is now not going to start off their season on August 29 and will now have to wait and see what the state’s public health order will say come September because as of now, UNM would not be able to play home games in 2020 under the current health order.

UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nunez released the following statement Wednesday night on the Mountain West’s revised plan for fall sports:

This framework allows us time to ensure we have the best possible health and safety protocols in place to allow our student-athletes a safe environment to compete,” said Eddie Nuñez, UNM Director of Athletics.   “We will continue to work with local authorities and the Governor’s office to stay within the guidelines put in place to keep the community safe.  The safety of our student-athletes and our community is our top priority.

Sports like women’s and men’s Cross Country, women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball are now slated to only have conference games in 2020 and will also begin no earlier than the week of September 26. Men’s and women’s golf, swimming, and tennis are now canceled for the fall season 2020.

This revised plan is just a starting point for the Mountain West though, as MW Commissioner Craig Thompson released this statement on Wednesday as well:

We have deliberated these issues fully as a Conference since the start of the pandemic, and I want to thank the Mountain West Board of Directors, Directors of Athletics and the MW Health and Safety Advisory Committee for their collaborative efforts during this unique time. The health and welfare of our student-athletes and campus communities continue to be paramount in our decision-making process. The modified fall structure as presently configured allows flexibility and time for our athletic programs to be in the best possible position to play collegiate sports this season. There is still a lot of work to be done and many important decisions to be made. Today’s announcement provides a path forward as we navigate the weeks ahead.

Now to soccer, New Mexico United is three-days away from their next match, playing at Phoenix Rising FC but on Wednesday afternoon Head Coach Troy Lesesne released news about Volcano Vista High School graduate and now New Mexico United center back Justin Schmidt.

“Justin is not going to be with us and he’s not probably going to be with us for the year. That’s the update on Justin. It’s a tough injury that he sustained but he is going through, a surgery now and he’s in recovery on his foot. He’s doing great and maybe there is an outside chance for this season but it may be difficult as well,” said Lesesne.

Losing Schmidt is a huge loss but this team has been firing on all cylinders as of late. New Mexico United is riding a two-game winning streak and won their last game at OKC, 3-0. New Mexico United will have their hands full against Phoenix though as they hold the same record, 3-1-1 and are one of the most prolific scoring teams in the league.

“We have to figure out ways to eliminate little mistakes both in possession. because that’s where I think they are really good, as well as just be compact. I thought we were so compact in our low block, mid-low block against OKC. So, if we can get into those positions again and be committed to that type of defending then we have a good chance to get a competitive match against a top team,” said Lesesne.

New Mexico United versus Phoenix rising FC is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and that match will be shown on ESPN+.

Let’s finish on the links, Los Altos Golf Course pro David Muttitt is competing once again this year in the PGA Championships. This will mark Muttitt’s fifth time playing at the Championship and he is excited to get going on Thursday morning.

Muttitt has never made the first cut at this tournament but said that he feels good and is ready to go. Muttitt will tee off on Thursday at 10:12 am and coverage of the PGA Championship will be shown on ESPN starting at 2 p.m.

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