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Mid-American Conference postpones fall football season due to COVID-19 concerns

A general view of a football helmet with the MAC logo on display during the Mid-American Conference football media day on July 26, 2017 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
A general view of a football helmet with the MAC logo on display during the Mid-American Conference football media day on July 26, 2017 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
SOURCE: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Mid-American Conference postpones fall football season due to COVID-19 concerns
The Mid-American Conference on Saturday became the first league competing at college football's highest level to postpone its fall season because of COVID-19 concerns."The Mid-American Conference has announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests, as well as MAC championships, due to the continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic," MAC officials wrote in a statement released Saturday.With the MAC's 12 schools facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly coronavirus protocols, the conference's university presidents made the decision to explore a spring season.In addition to football, cross country, field hockey, soccer and volleyball were also affected.MAC schools rely heavily on revenue from playing road games against power conference teams. Most of those games were canceled when the Power Five went to exclusively or mostly conference games. Without them, the strain of trying to implement all that it would take to keep players and staff safe during a pandemic became too much.The conference that built a brand name — #MACtion — and managed to score an ESPN deal by playing football games on Tuesdays and Wednesday nights is now the first to surrender to the pandemic, hoping it can regroup in with a spring season.Nine of 13 conferences at Division I's second-tier of football, the Championship Subdivision, have already announced postponed their fall football seasons, with an eye toward making them up in the spring.But in FBS, conferences have been putting plans in place to — however tentative — for the coming season. The Power Five went first and then the so-called Group of Five, with the American Athletic, Sun Belt, Mountain West and Conference USA all finalizing schedule models this week.The MAC was the last one without a stated plan. A meeting of its presidents earlier in the week was expected to produce an agreement on how to go about a fall season, but instead some schools pushed to not play. The final decision was kicked to a Saturday morning meeting. The news, first reported by the online sports network Stadium, started leaking within 90 minutes of the scheduled start of the meeting. The league soon announced a news conference with Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher an hour later.

The Mid-American Conference on Saturday became the first league competing at college football's highest level to postpone its fall season because of COVID-19 concerns.

"The Mid-American Conference has announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests, as well as MAC championships, due to the continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic," MAC officials wrote in a statement released Saturday.

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With the MAC's 12 schools facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly coronavirus protocols, the conference's university presidents made the decision to explore a spring season.

In addition to football, cross country, field hockey, soccer and volleyball were also affected.

MAC schools rely heavily on revenue from playing road games against power conference teams. Most of those games were canceled when the Power Five went to exclusively or mostly conference games. Without them, the strain of trying to implement all that it would take to keep players and staff safe during a pandemic became too much.

The conference that built a brand name — #MACtion — and managed to score an ESPN deal by playing football games on Tuesdays and Wednesday nights is now the first to surrender to the pandemic, hoping it can regroup in with a spring season.

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Nine of 13 conferences at Division I's second-tier of football, the Championship Subdivision, have already announced postponed their fall football seasons, with an eye toward making them up in the spring.

But in FBS, conferences have been putting plans in place to — however tentative — for the coming season. The Power Five went first and then the so-called Group of Five, with the American Athletic, Sun Belt, Mountain West and Conference USA all finalizing schedule models this week.

The MAC was the last one without a stated plan. A meeting of its presidents earlier in the week was expected to produce an agreement on how to go about a fall season, but instead some schools pushed to not play.

The final decision was kicked to a Saturday morning meeting. The news, first reported by the online sports network Stadium, started leaking within 90 minutes of the scheduled start of the meeting. The league soon announced a news conference with Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher an hour later.