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UNLV, Mountain West to play football this fall

Updated September 24, 2020 - 8:10 pm

UNLV is returning to the football field this fall.

The Mountain West on Thursday night decided to begin play next month after presidents from its 12 member schools met and voted, the league announced.

Details were still forthcoming, but a league statement said teams will play an eight-game, conference-only slate beginning Oct. 24. The conference will play a championship game Dec. 19. The timing of the schedule allows the Mountain West to qualify for one of the six bowl games held annually on New Year’s Day.

There was no word where UNLV would play its home games — Allegiant Stadium, Sam Boyd Stadium or elsewhere. But Rebels athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois said in a statement that the program is working with state and local officials to explore the possibility of limited fans.

A schedule has not yet been finalized, per Reed-Francois.

“From the outset, the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and entire community has been at the forefront of all decisions,” she said. “We’re thrilled that a pathway to a fall football season has been developed.”

The Mountain West canceled its fall season last month amid coronavirus concerns, but began considering a fall season last week as the Big Ten announced its return. The league won’t utilize daily testing like the Big Ten, but alternative antigen tests can provide the requisite safety.

The Mountain West is the third conference to reverse course in the last two weeks, joining the Big Ten and Pac-12, which also announced a return to play Thursday.

“We are fired up to play football,” Rebels coach Marcus Arroyo said in a statement. “I am proud of the team, coaching staff and the entire program as we never stopped preparing, working or being a family.”

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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