On Saturday morning the Mid-American Conference made a historic move and announced the postponement of the entire fall sports season. The MAC become the first conference within the FBS to make the move because of concerns for player safety amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
MAC First FBS Confernce To Postpone Fall Season
The powers that be sat and had a pow-wow this morning and voted unanimously to hold off until at least the spring. While the MAC is the FBS conference to nix fall sports, UConn made the call and became the first FBS program to wave the white flag.
The idea is, as of now, to try and move the affected fall sports to the spring of 2021. Cross Country, soccer, field hockey, and of course NCAA football will likely be forced to play games within the MAC only until next fall.
As of today, the MAC has made no moves in regard to winter sports, specifically basketball.
When asked about the call to cancel the season before it starts, MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher had the following statement.
“There are simply too many unknown to put our student-athletes into situations that are not clearly understood.”
While it’s true the MAC axed the FBS conference season due to health and safety, if you believe that is the only reason you might want to think again.
The Mid Atlantic Conference was facing significant financial concerns after the Big Ten decided to play games exclusively in-conference this season. That robbed the MAC of 11 B1G games in 2020 with profits north of $10M in those games alone. Other games against power five schools were also pulled from the schedule, leaving just five so-called “money games” for the entire season.
MAC teams, much like many non-big five programs, rely heavily on those profits to help offset operating costs each year. Remember, these football programs are often paying the bills for most of the other sports at a school because those sports generate little to no revenue.
Additionally, the cost of private regular COVID-19 testing is not cheap and will cost any program a significant chunk of money over the course of an entire season.
Multiple FCS conferences have already pulled the plug on college football this fall, and there will be no championships awarded in either DII or DIII football this year. D1 might be forced to make that call too sooner than later.
While that doesn’t affect the FBS, which operates as its own entity outside of the NCAA, it can mean more dominoes falling.
Will the MAC canceling fall FBS football be the tipping point for more teams or conferences to back out of the year? Will the other group five conference follow suit due to the same financial issues facing the MAC? Will the power five be forced to do the same despite their desire to keep football players on the field?
It will be in interesting new few weeks for sure but my feeling is that we see little, if any, college football in 2020.