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EDITORIAL: Athletes should not be forced to play on Black Friday


Stands empty after a weather delay during CMU game against in-state rival Western Michigan on Oct. 20, 2018 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. 

The Black Friday football game is notorious for being the least attended football game of the year. 

While most students and faculty are recovering from two trips for seconds at Thanksgiving dinner the night before or catching some early-morning deals while shopping, Central Michigan football players are playing a game that has some serious bowl implications. 

Thanksgiving break is a great time to catch up on homework, visit with family members and take time for yourselves. Instead, staff, student-athletes and coaches are forced to play a football game. 

To put it simply, there is no appetite whatsoever for CMU football in mid-Michigan the day after Thanksgiving. Even if it will have bowl implications. 

Campus typically clears out by Tuesday night, even though classes on Wednesday are still held until 5 p.m. Students are eager to see their families and get out of town for the week. 

If professors don't even expect their classes to be full on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, why would the Mid-American Conference expect the stands to be full on a Friday afternoon. 

It was clear that the CMU community was not a fan of the midweek MAC games on national TV. People here like their football on Saturdays. But, at least there was some logic backing it up. Get on national TV with football on the days there otherwise isn't football. 

Students are more likely to get an early start on Freeform's "25 Days of Christmas" movie schedule than tune in to a MAC football game to watch with their extended families.

CMU doesn't have much say in the matter, but the MAC does. By making these student-athletes give up their holiday just to fill time on national TV, they disregard the hard work they have given the conference for the first 11 games. There's no reason the games couldn't just be on Saturday, Nov. 30. 

If coaches, students or faculty had a final say in it, nobody would play on Black Friday. They have respect for the value of spending time with family members. 

This is how we see it — students already complain about not having a fall break. That's why President Bob Davies is taking action. 

But, imagine how the football players feel — they don't even have a Thanksgiving break.