The following is from an interview with University of Montana Athletics Director Kent Haslam conducted two days ago.

Since then, the Big Sky Conference met on Thursday to vote on whether to cancel the fall football season. There have been many unsubstantiated reports that the vote did indeed cancel football this fall, but KGVO is awaiting official word from Haslam.

He told KGVO that there will be a press conference hopefully today to explain the vote and what the impacts will be to the university, the football program and the community.

Here is the report KGVO published two days ago:

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According to a press release from the NCAA, ‘The divisions must determine by Aug. 21 whether their respective fall sports seasons and NCAA championships should occur this year. All three divisions must follow their governance processes in making decisions.’

University of Montana Director of Athletics Kent Haslam has been on the phone with the NCAA, the Big Sky Conference and other athletic directors as the try to find their way through the COVID 19 fog.

“There was direction given today by the Board of Governors for the NCAA that essentially allows each division to make the decisions on fall sports and the fall championships,” said Haslam. “They gave some pretty specific guidelines on what we would have to do to meet health and safety requirements, and so that gives us some direction also knowing that we have to have 50% of the memberships compete in the regular season in order to have a championship, so that would go right to the FCS. We'd have to have roughly 56 to 58 schools that would compete in the fall to be able to have fall football championships.”

Haslam said aside from the NCAA and the Big Sky Conference, the ultimate decision will come down to the Missoula City County Health Department as to whether there will be football games played inside Washington Grizzly Stadium this fall.

You know, there's still that potential that we could see football move to the spring and play a modified schedule when we might be in a completely different scenario health wise and with the virus.

“We've worked closely as a university system actually, with the county health departments in both Gallatin County, certainly for Montana State and here in Missoula County and sought their guidance, but you're correct,” he said. “Those are decisions that are going to come from County Health as it relates to the number of people that you can have together in a group, and right now we're at 50. And so you can see that that's hard to have a full football team if you're limited to 50 people.”

Haslam knows the financial impact that Grizzly football has on the community, as well as a similar impact to other sports at the university.

“We know we have a large impact,” he said. “We've done that economic study and we know that football games bring in two and a half to $3 million in outside spending and they're worth while to the community, so we completely understand and that's why we always try and play six home games every year. You know, there's still that potential that we could see football move to the spring and play a modified schedule when we might be in a completely different scenario health wise and with the virus.”

The team was scheduled to open the season on the road at Missouri State, but that will all be moot if the football season has indeed been cancelled. We will find out from the source soon.