Mountain West players unite, outline conditions for safety

Football players from the Mountain West Conference on Thursday became the latest group to unite and publicize a list of conditions to ensure their health and safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mountain West players followed similar groups from the Pac-12 and Big Ten in outlining their demands. They began posting a graphic Thursday night on Twitter with the hashtag #MWUnited.

The players praised their coaches for adjusting to the pandemic, but said they "do not feel comfortable playing teams from other states."

"It is difficult to believe that hundreds of 17 to 22-year-old college students are capable of social-distancing effectively enough to travel state-to-state for 10 weeks," the players' statement reads.

A player told ESPN that #MWUnited includes more than 300 Mountain West players and came together through a group message in only one day.

The Mountain West on Wednesday announced a football schedule model that begins Sept. 26 and includes eight conference games and the option of up to two nonconference games.

The players' conditions include weekly testing for all players, coaches and staff members in contact with players, to be performed at least 72 hours before competition. They also asked for facility cleaning and contact tracing to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Mountain West group also demands a medical hardship waiver for any athlete who opts out of the season because of COVID-19 concerns, those who contract the virus during the season and miss more than 30% of games, and athletes who have their entire season or more than half of their games canceled. The waiver would grant an additional year of eligibility, even for fifth-year players, and preserve scholarships and roster spots.

Much like the Pac-12 and Big Ten player lists, #MWUnited demands all COVID-19 liability waivers to be banned, medical coverage for all issues related to COVID-19 for five years after an athlete's eligibility expires, and whistleblower protection for those who report violations of safety protocol.

Hawai'i defensive backs Donovan Dalton and Quentin Frazier were among the first to post #MWUnited's conditions. Players from other league schools followed.

Colorado State, a Mountain West member, on Tuesday announced it would investigate claims by players, coaches and sports medicine staff that athletic department personnel had discouraged athletes from being tested for COVID-19 or reporting symptoms and did not follow protocol for handling the virus after an outbreak last month.