Rapid testing opens door for UH football

  • Contributed

HONOLULU — The University of Hawai‘i football program might just have a shot at defending its West Division championship, as the Mountain West Conference announced the resumption of the football season starting the weekend of Oct. 23 and 24 during a press conference Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The MWC amended regular-season schedule includes eight games for each member school. The season was interrupted with the Aug. 10 indefinite postponement of fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MWC championship game, where in 2019 Hawai‘i, the West Division champion, met East Division champ Boise State in 2019, is scheduled for Dec. 19. UH lost that game, 31-10.

Any return to competition is subject to state, county and local approvals.

“The Mountain West leadership has been working hard to get our young men back on the field in a safe manner,” said UH Athletic Director David Matlin.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and community has been our top priority. There are more challenges ahead, but creating a safe path for our Warriors to return to the gridiron is a big step forward. We will continue to be diligent in our efforts and work with governmental agencies to pursue approvals.”

The MWC has partnered with Quest Diagnostics to implement testing protocols across all member institutions. The agreement with Quest delivers frequent testing with rapid results, providing a major step forward for sport competition to resume.

Under the agreement, the MWC will require all football student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other individuals that are on the field for all games to undergo testing three times a week.

Test results must be recorded prior to each game. Student-athletes who test positive for the coronavirus through point-of-contact testing would require a polymerase chain reaction test to confirm the result of the POC test.

“The health and well-being of our student-athletes continue to guide all decisions,” said Dr. Mary Papazian, San Jose State University president and chair of the MWC board of directors.

“The availability of rapid testing addresses one of the main concerns that was expressed by our board, the MW Health and Safety Advisory Committee, as well as by student-athletes and coaches,” she said.

“Our student-athletes have voiced their desire to compete, and it is the board’s shared opinion that football can be conducted with appropriate mitigation. We continue to learn more about the virus each day, and will continue to monitor the pandemic moving forward. We will be ready to change course if necessary should new information come forth, or we feel an appropriate environment cannot be sustained on our campuses.”

Currently, the MWC is in the process of finalizing thresholds for competition interruption, monitoring test results and other health and safety protocols that are consistent with NCAA re-socialization guidelines.

Stadium capacities will be determined by each member institution in accordance with state, county and local health ordinances in consultation with government officials.

A complete 2020 MWC football schedule will be forthcoming.


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