The Mid-American Conference postponed all fall sports Saturday due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision makes the MAC the first FBS conference to forego a football season this year.
MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said "there are simply too many unknowns for us to put our student-athletes in situations that are not clearly understood." But it seems that financial costs were also a concern, especially since many of the schools would lose revenue from already-canceled games against major conference teams.
MAC schools already don't make a lot from football, and to play this year they were going to have to
a) spend hundreds of thousands on frequent COVID tests
b) go without the millions they get from Big Ten schools for non-conference games
It wasn't gonna happen https://t.co/lnpLZUxoMt
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) August 8, 2020
The league isn't giving up all hope of seeing its student-athletes get back on the field, though. The conference is looking into ways to move the affected sports — which also include men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, field hockey, and women's volleyball — to the spring, and ESPN has reportedly said it's open to fitting televised games into its broadcast schedule next year.
It's unclear how the mid-major conference's move will affect the rest of the college football landscape, since most FBS conferences are opting to go ahead with modified schedules bereft of non-conference games, and the so-called Power Five Conferences (ACC, Big 10, SEC, PAC-12, and Big 12) have a lot more money at stake. But players have at least raised the possibility that they'd be willing to sit out the season if they aren't satisfied with health and safety protocols. The MAC's decision could put pressure on the other conferences to bolster their plans, if not call off the season outright. Read more at ESPN.