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Mountain West cancels fall sports; Air Force will ‘explore’ playing Army, Navy

The Falcons might play just two football games this season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Cheez-It Bowl - Air Force v Washington State Photo by Carlos Herrera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Varsity fall sports at the Air Force Academy are in jeopardy.

Monday evening, the Mountain West Conference announced that it was indefinitely postponing all fall sports “in response to ongoing challenges” with the coronavirus.

Air Force plays most of its fall sports in the Mountain West, including football. Air Force plays men’s soccer in the WAC, which announced a few weeks ago that its season would begin Sept. 16.

In its statement, the Mountain West did mention an “exception of the unique circumstances involved with the military service academies.” In his own statement, Air Force AD Nathan Pine said the Falcons will “continue to explore competitions against Army and Navy if conditions allow as we have similar physical missions across the Service Academies.”

Pine added: “The health and safety of our cadet-athletes, coaches, staff and community has been and will continue to be our top priority at the Academy, and was reflected in the Mountain West’s difficult decision to postpone fall sports. My heart aches for our cadet-athletes, coaches and everyone who supports our programs but the announcement today is the appropriate course of action at this time. Air Force will continue to work closely with the NCAA and Mountain West on next steps because the physical mission is fundamental to our 47-month cadet development experience and competitive athletics and physical fitness are key components of developing leaders of character for our Air and Space Forces, even in the COVID-19 environment.

While the Mountain West will “explore the feasibility” of playing the canceled fall sports in the spring, it seems that Air Force will at least try to play its rivalry games against Army and Navy, based on Pine’s statement.

Army and Navy’s athletic directors have both been adamant about their desire to play the Army-Navy game this season.

The Mountain West is the second FBS conference to suspend its 2020 fall football season, following the MAC’s decision on Saturday.