The Mid-American Conference (MAC) announced its postponement of the 2020 fall sports season and MAC championships on Aug. 8 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MAC is the first NCAA Division I collegiate athletic conference in the FBS to cancel its fall season. The conference is made up of 12 institutions that stretch across Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and New York. According to the CDC, each of those states reported more than 40,000 COVID-19 cases.
After numerous meetings with medical groups and other councils, the MAC Council of Presidents unanimously voted to postpone men’s and women’s cross-country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. The conference has intent to allow student-athletes affected by this decision to have competitive opportunities in the spring semester of 2021.
“There are simply too many unknowns for us to put our students-athletes in situations that are not clearly understood,” said MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbercher during his press conference. According to Steinbercher there are roughly 2,500 student-athletes affected by this decision. “This has not been an easy decision but for the Mid-American Conference it is the right decision,” Steinbercher said.
After the statement was released on twitter Saturday morning the hashtag #MACtion began trending. Under the hashtag many fans and alumni shared their grief and disappointment that they’ll no longer have sports to watch in the fall or a reason to have an eventful Tuesday night. Others shared their frustration and blamed it on the lack of social distancing and mask wearing.
However, there were coaches who shared their understanding of the decision made by the league’s presidents. “The health, safety and welfare of our student-athletes, and all other individuals who are a part of our athletic department, are paramount,” said Tim Lester, Western Michigan’s head football coach. “This decision reflects our leagues commitment to that priority.”
This decision not only affects fans, staff, and student-athletes, but also other collegiate athletic conferences. According to Carter Karels from the South Bend Tribune, Notre Dame was scheduled to play Western Michigan on Sept. 19. That match-up can no longer occur and another opponent will have to take Western Michigan’s place.
That raises the question many have been asking and thinking. Will other schools follow the steps taken by the Mid-American Conference and cancel their 2020 fall sports season?