COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado State and the Air Force Academy officially won't play football this fall.
The Mountain West Conference on Monday announced it will postpone all fall sports amid concerns over COVID-19.
Men and women's cross country, women's soccer and women's volleyball were also affected by the decision made Monday. Conference officials said they'll "begin to explore the feasibility" of rescheduling fall sports to a spring season.
“We were hopeful we could carefully and responsibly conduct competition as originally scheduled with essential protocols in place," Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said. "However, numerous external factors and unknowns outside our control made this difficult decision necessary."
Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker called the decision "a disappointing development for our student-athletes, coaches, and staff who have devoted their full attention to get ready for a fall season."
"However, as the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has altered our landscape, we have always stressed that the health and safety of our student-athletes and community at large is the most important factor driving our decision-making processes," Parker said.
The Mountain West's decision came as Football Bowl Subdivision conferences across the country were grappling on Monday with the future of fall sports.
The Big Ten was reportedly discussing whether to continue with a football season or cancel it amid continued COVID-19 concerns. While university presidents and conference commissioners met, high-profile players, such as Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State's Justin Fields, took to Twitter to voice their support for a fall season, using the hashtag #WeWantToPlay.
For Colorado State, the postponement of fall sports happens as the school's football program is under intense scrutiny over allegations of racism and non-compliance with COVID-19 precautions.
The administration paused all football activities last week while officials investigated the claims made against the program, which is in its first year under head coach Steve Addazio.
Earlier Monday, the school announced that eight football players had tested positive for coronavirus since late July. CSU Athletics spokesperson Kyle Neaves said the athletics program, in partnership with UCHealth, conducted 150 COVID-19 tests on student athletes in the sports of football, volleyball, soccer and cross country on Aug. 3
After the outbreak was reported at CSU on July 21, all football team activities were paused while men’s and women’s basketball have continued to train.
To date, a total of 420 tests have been performed on student athletes, according to Neaves, who said additional student athletes are currently or have quarantined as a result of contact tracing per the determination of CSP Public Health.