The University of Montana Western is an NAIA and NIRA institution and member of the Frontier Conference. Guidance for planning comes from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, the Frontier Conference, National Athletic Trainers Association, MUS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the UMW Administration, and direction from campus and industry experts.

Key factors center on developing mitigation plans for return to practice and competition for student-athletes, best use of facilities, and protecting staff and coaches. Plans also provide guiding principles for mitigation and contact tracing.

MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Planning Guidelines for Campuses provides general planning guidelines for athletic departments. However, the MUS Athletics 2020 Advisory Group and future decisions from relevant governing organizations will heavily influence future decisions.

The Bulldog Athletic and Recreation Center (BARC)

The Bulldog Athletic and Recreation Center (BARC) is a multi-use facility which houses academic classrooms and faculty offices, all Department of Athletics operations, hosts campus and community activities and provides UMW students, staff, and faculty with access to resistance training and cardiovascular fitness equipment and gymnasium space for intramural and recreational activities.  

In order to balance the needs of the many building constituents and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 disease transmission, additional procedures have been implemented for the 2021 Spring Semester. 

The University of Montana Western Athletics Department completed a COVID-19 Social Distancing Training on June 5, 2020 to address the MUS guidelines. The training content is listed below:

The University of Montana Western Athletics
COVID-19 Social Distancing Training

The University of Montana Western Athletic Department recommends the following (click to expand) for use of the all athletics facilities (practice fields on campus, Vigilante Field & Track, BARC). With the slowing of COVID-19 spread and relaxation of Stay at Home Orders, there is an increased risk to everyone who uses our facilities and we ask that everyone adheres to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.

The University of Montana Western Athletics Department has also created a three stage protocol to address the MUS guidelines. The stages are listed below:

The University of Montana Western Athletics COVID-19 Plan
Athletics Stage One (June 1)
The UMW Athletics Guidelines for Outdoor Activities (Revised 6/11/20)

Athletics Stage Two (June 15)
The UMW Athletics Guidelines for Indoor Activities (Revised 6/11/20)

Athletics Stage Three (August 15)
The UMW Athletics Guidelines for Practices, Contests, and all other Participation Events

The University of Montana Western Athletics
COVID-19 Campus Visit Guidelines

The following plan for athletics campus visits is largely based on the approved UMW Admissions campus visit plan with a few recommendations specific to athletics.

Admissions Campus Visits COVID-19 Policy

  • Out-of-state student visits will be scheduled in compliance with any quarantine requirements enacted by the governor.
  • Only one family will be allowed to tour campus at a time unless the families arrange the visit together.
  • Social distancing guidelines will be used during the campus tour to make sure there is six feet between the tour guide and the family. Additionally, tour guides will keep social distancing guidelines in mind when touring families around campus to make sure they stay six feet away from faculty and staff when on the tour.
  • Admissions presentations will be delivered in rooms that allow for social distancing. Information about campus tours and the location of these rooms will be communicated with Facilities Services to ensure they are disinfected on days with visitors on campus.

Athletics Considerations

  • No tryouts during the campus visit may occur at this time.
  • Coaches should only meet with Prospective Student-Athletes (PSA) in a classroom, gym or larger space while in the BARC. Coaches’ offices are too small to maintain proper social distance.
  • Coaches should communicate the requirement of facial coverings to PSA’s and their guests prior to the visit.
  • Following the visit, coaches should disinfect any meeting rooms that were used during the visit.
  • Coaches will be trained by Admissions on proper social distancing techniques during tours/visits.

UMW COVID-19 Athletics Coordination Team:

  • Bill Wilson, Director of Athletics
  • Kaleb Birney, Head Athletic Trainer
  • Nicole Hazelbaker, Dean of Students
  • Zach McCarthy, Athletic Trainer
  • Russ Richardson, Director of Student-Athlete Health and Wellness NAIA
  • Casey Parrott, Sports Information Director