Stadium college football insider Brett McMurphy reported today that the Mountain West Conference has canceled football in the fall, thereby eliminating both conference tie-ins to the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
The Mid-American Conference, the other conference affiliated with the Arizona Bowl, announced Saturday that it is also canceling all fall sports, including football, due to continuing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Mountain West has canceled its football season this fall because of player health and safety concerns regarding COVID-19, sources told Stadium.
“In a vote of league presidents Monday, the Mountain West became the second Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conference (other than the MAC) to cancel all of its fall sports, sources said,” McMurphy reported. “The Mountain West will consider playing football in the spring, sources said.”
MAC presidents met Saturday morning and voted for the cancellation of fall sports with the possibility of rescheduling to the spring.
The MAC announced last July a primary bowl partnership with the Arizona Bowl for a six-year period beginning with the 2020-25 cycle. The annual bowl game at Arizona Stadium started in 2015.
Other schools can be represented in the game provided it is not included in its conference’s pecking order of bowl alignments, but that is not likely with the potential for more schools and conferences cancelling their seasons.
Arizona Bowl founder and chairman Ali Farhhang told AllSportsTucson.com last month the bowl is prepared to go this year without a bowl game considering the COVID-19 pandemic implications.
“As a bowl, we have to prepare for a lot of different options,” he said. “If there is a season in the fall, and there is a bowl game, we might have to do it without a crowd or with a limited crowd. Then there are the tailgating and team events. How are we going to do what we’ve always done? How are we going to do it in a less grandiose capacity?”
“We have contingency plans for everything from if things are going to be exactly how they’ve always been by Dec. 31 to we get pushed to the spring or no bowl game,” he added. “We’re in a great position. If there is no bowl game this year, we’re prepared to endure that and we’ll be back next year — 100 percent.”
The Arizona Bowl annually donates 100 percent of its net proceeds to charitable organizations. The bowl game has donated nearly $4 million, including tickets to active military, veterans and teachers, along with first responders, from the greater Tucson area.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.