January 15, 2021

Mid-American Conference Pulls The Plug

Mid-American Conference pulls the plug of ALL fall sports. Yes, that means the MAC is the first FBS conference to cancel football and ALL other fall sports.

The MAC announced Saturday morning that they putting a “postponement” of fall sports due to COVID-19 pandemic. Making them the first FBS, but expected to be one of many, conference to pull the plug on fall sports. Leaving many asking, what does this mean for the Power Five Conferences? Will they be next?

MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said the decision “was not made lightly nor without significant contemplation and conversation over the past weeks.”

“Clearly we are charting a conservative path — and it is one that has been recommended by our medical advisory group,” Steinbrecher told reporters on a video conference. “There are simply too many unknowns for us to put our student-athletes in situations that are not clearly understood. We have traditionally been a leader on student-athlete well-being issues. This has not been an easy decision. For the Mid-American Conference, it is the right decision.”

The MAC said it has started formalizing plans to move all affected sports — football, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and women’s volleyball — to spring 2021, if possible.

This was NOT an easy decision for Steinbrecher. He talked about his struggle during the pandemic to let his “emotional wall down” and how it was a “simply a miserable decision.”

“When I had to shut down our basketball tournament in March, I was asked how I felt and I gave a very stiff answer, saying I didn’t feel — I just worked the issue,” Steinbrecher said. “I said that because I was unsure if I let my emotional wall down, I would not stay composed. Today I am in the same place.

“I’m crushed by this decision. I am so disappointed. It’s just crushing that we can’t facilitate the opportunities this fall because of circumstances around us. I’m heartbroken on that. The flip side is I take comfort, and I would say our presidents take comfort, and I assume all others that we’re making decisions for the right reasons.”

Who’s Next???

That seems to be the question of the weekend. And…will be there be football this fall?

The Power 5 were the first to put a plan together so they could play this fall, and then the Group of 5, with the American Athletic, Sun Belt, Mountain West and Conference USA all completing schedule models this week. Plan of not, hope is fading as…

The Big Ten announced that it will not progress to padded football practices (They will be able to practice in helmets). The league wants further evaluation before it progresses to full-contact practices.

Then earlier this week, the Big Ten’s schedule was filled with warning signs that it wasn’t confident about the season being held.

Many experts are speculating that the Big Ten and Pac-12 are the leagues most strongly considering punting on fall sports or the answer to….Who’s next???