CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Mountain East Conference Commissioner, Reid Amos, met with members of the media, virtually, on Tuesday to begin MEC Media Day.
Amos was one of many commissioners of collegiate athletic conferences who had to make the tough decision to cancel fall sports last year.
“At the point that fall championships were canceled, it didn’t seem very practical for the Mountain East Conference to conduct fall seasons during the fall, when there weren’t ultimately going to be NCAA championships at the end of that fall semester,” said Amos, who also sits on the D-2 Championships Committee. “So it seemed to make a lot more sense to have an opportunity to gain access to what we needed, particularly testing supplies.”
Luckily for Amos, and MEC fans across this state and others, no such choice had to be made this year.
Fall sports, including football, will take place across the MEC landscape this year with a full schedule.
“The state of the Mountain East Conference is very strong, and we look forward to the season to come,” said Amos.
The Mountain East Conference released its football preseason poll on Tuesday.
Among local teams, Fairmont was picked to finish sixth in the league, with Glenville State selected to finish two spots behind them. Alderson Broaddus and West Virginia Wesleyan have been picked to finish eleventh and twelfth, respectively.
Notre Dame College has been picked to win the MEC, after
The Mountain East Conference returned to action in the spring of 2021, which included a reduced spring football season.
“After what was nearly a nine-month layoff we were able to return to competition in early January 2021 and provide a season for student-athletes in 23 sports in one semester,” said Amos. “All of our student athletes were afforded the opportunity to play (their sport in 2021).
Nine of the twelve teams played at least four games, according to Amos. Fairmont State, meanwhile, was unable to play a single game in the spring.
The league also held its first-ever football conference title game in the spring.
Amos acknowledged that one of the biggest differences between this time last year and now, is this availability of COVID-19 testing supplies and the ability to do that testing in a timely manner. That wasn’t the case last year going into the fall sports season.
“If you recall, last fall, (testing supplies) were very difficult to acquire, and as of last summer were very expensive. They became increasingly less expensive over time,” said Amos. “Once we had access to those, we were then in a position where we had the ability to return to play.”
Asked about the current surge of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, Amos referenced that guidelines came out last week, but also acknowledged that the pandemic can change things quickly.
“The pandemic does the planning for us, which causes us to make adjustments as they’re necessary,” he said. “We were simply being dealt a different hand of cards for the fall than we were expected to be.”
“All conferences are wrestling with the guidelines and recommendations that the NCAA has made less than a week ago.”
Amos says that the NCAA is offering very “broad” guidelines, and is suggesting that conferences come up with their own guidelines heading into the fall, based on the regional impacts of the virus.
He added that the MEC is looking to have its set of guidelines, related to COVID-19, within the next week.