Mid-American Conference Ends Fall Sports Season, May Look at Spring Instead
Among the Division I ranks, the Mid-American Conference and their participating presidents and athletic directors were the last to make a decision on their fall sports programs. A decision Saturday put them in first.
The announcement came just before Noon August 8th from MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecker and the 12 universities that the fall sports schedules have been canceled. The cancellation ends the football, volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, and field hockey seasons. The decision was made due to continued concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The choice for the postponement was unanimous after the original vote was planned for August 6th.
Steinbrecker in part of his statement called the decision "conservative" and that it was the best option among the conference's medical advisory group. He added -
I am heartbroken we are in this place. However, I take comfort and want to give assurance to our student-athletes, coaches, and fans that we have their best interest at heart, and we will make every effort to provide competitive opportunities in the spring.
Here locally, Western Michigan Broncos athletic director Kathy Beauregard echoed the decision being "extremely difficult" but fully supporting the decision. She also put emphasis on the continued effort to keep not only student-athletes healthy, but the whole Western student body.
Competition does not allow the same social distancing and mask wearing that we can utilize in the classroom, residence halls or other places on campus as the semester kicks off September 2. Our state's health and medical experts have continued to present us with information that postponement of fall competitions was the safe path forward. This decision was grounded in the core values of the MAC, prioritizing student-athlete well-being.
With the fall season canceled, there is still the opportunity to shift the seasons to the spring. It is still being discussed among the members of the MAC.
The announcement comes just five days after the Broncos were still scheduled to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the lone game outside of Atlantic Coast Conference play on the gridiron. The Irish have yet to determine if the September 19th date will be filled.