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Mountain West athletes form union to express concern, outline requests with season in flux

Athletes from the Mountain West Conference have banded together in support of increased safety and protection with the season set to take place under COVID-19.
Athletes from the Mountain West Conference have banded together in support of increased safety and protection with the season set to take place under COVID-19.(KOLO)
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 11:12 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Hundreds of college football players across the country have banded together as concerns continue to arise around holding the season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday night, the latest union came from the Mountain West Conference. Following earlier, similar movements by the Big-10 and Pac-12, athletes from the Mountain West joined to share a four-page post with the hashtag #MWUnited.

Within the post, the players say they “do not feel safe competing in the coming season without reform”, adding “it’s difficult to believe hundreds of 17 to 22-year-olds are capable of social distancing effectively enough to travel state-to-state for 10 weeks.”

The Mountain West’s 12 teams are spread over eight states - California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Nevada’s Berdale Robins joined in, but made sure to note how he believes the Wolf Pack is keeping him and his teammates safe.

Nevada’s Jaden Lewis also chimed in. The players’ demands call for stringent testing protocols, eligibility assurance should the season be canceled before or during, medical costs and also “whistleblower” protection should an athlete report suspected violations of protocols.

Earlier in the week, Nevada head coach Jay Norvell told the media the Coronavirus hadn’t disrupted any of their activities. He says they’ve worked through any concerns players may have.

“They do have the opportunity to opt out if they don’t feel safe. We support that,” said Norvell. “But so far we haven’t had anyone opt out.”

“”We take our walking orders from our medical staff.”

The Mountain West was quick to issue a response, saying their plan will align with the NCAA Board of Governor’s requirements. The conference also added most of the athletes’ requests are already being met. The board will meet twice within the next two weeks.

On Wednesday, the Mountain West announced a revised schedule for the fall sports season. The move delays football season for nearly a month, reducing the number of games from 12 to 10. Olympic sports will only conference opponents.

On Friday, the Big Sky Conference took it a giant step further, postponing their football season until the spring. The move is expected to be followed by fellow Football Championship Subdivision conferences.

Copyright 2020 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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