Mid-American Conference postpones fall sports schedule, including football, over coronavirus concerns

It was the first FBS conference to do so

The Mid-American Conference has become the first Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conference to postpone college football and the rest of the fall sports slate because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The conference’s Council of Presidents voted unanimously to postpone the fall sports season. The conference plans to play the fall sports season in the spring. The winter sports season has not been affected so far.

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“The decision is grounded in the core values of the Conference that prioritize student-athlete well-being, an area the MAC has traditionally taken a leadership role,” Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher said in a news release. “Clearly, we are charting a conservative path – and it is one that has been recommended by our medical advisory group. It is a decision that affects roughly 2,500 student-athletes who live for the moment to compete. Those opportunities and moments are fleeting, and our student-athletes have a limited window in which to showcase their talent, passion, and drive for excellence. 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.”

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Conference officials and the medial advisory panel will convene to determine the safest course of action.

“This decision is in the best interest of all Mid-American Conference student-athletes, athletics departments and university communities,” Dr. Satish K. Tripath, the conference’s Council of Presidents Chair and University at Buffalo president, said in the news release. “The Council of Presidents has always maintained that the health, safety and well-being of everyone within our conference, especially our student-athletes, is our top priority.”

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Other conferences in the FBS have put contingency scheduling plans in place. It’s unclear whether any other conference will choose to delay their seasons.