Mid-American Conference cancels athletic competitions for academic year, suspends practices


Central Michigan Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Michael Alford sits among a row of empty seats courtside during Central Michigan's game against Toledo

The Mid-American Conference has followed other conferences in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Regular season and championship competitions are canceled for the remainder of the academic year, the MAC announced Thursday. Practices and recruiting activities are suspended.

The only way an athletic program is allowed to contact a prospective student-athlete is through letters, emails, text messages and phone calls. Off-campus recruiting and official and unofficial visits are not permitted.

Central Michigan athletic director Michael Alford agreed with the MAC's decision amid COVID-19 concerns.

“I strongly agree with the decisions made today by the leadership of the Mid-American Conference," Alford said in a press release. "These decisions were made in consultation with medical and public health professionals. The health and safety of everyone involved in our events, especially our student-athletes, is our No. 1 priority. These decisions are not easy knowing the hard work and effort our student-athletes have put in but this is such a serious and ever-evolving issue that we needed to take these drastic steps. Personally, I am devastated for our student-athletes because I know how hard this will be on them, putting in so much just to have their seasons end abruptly.”

Of the 15 allowable spring practices, CMU's football team held 10 of them before spring break. Pro day, which was supposed to be March 20, is also canceled.

The announcement from the MAC comes shortly after the NCAA President Mark Emmert canceled all NCAA championships, including March Madness, for winter and spring sports, even those that take place following the academic year.

MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher also canceled the MAC men's and women's tournament Thursday morning.

Steinbrecher said at his Thursday press conference to announce the conference tournament's cancellation that he hoped to have a decision on all MAC sporting events made "within the next couple of days."

"We had a brief discussion today," he said, "but most of the discussion was on basketball. Those discussions will continue."

Central Michigan announced Wednesday the suspension of all face-to-face classes, moving to online courses through March 20. President Bob Davies urged students not to return to campus following spring break.

This is a developing story. Check back with CM Life for updates.