MAC: 'No plans' for fall competition, will continue to push for spring
Central Michigan and Mid-American Conference fans will continue to wait for football.
The MAC was the first Football Bowl Subdivision to cancel the fall sports season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Other conferences, like the Pac-12, Mountain West and Big Ten followed the MAC – at least for the time being.
After much discussion and deliberation, the Big Ten reversed course and announced it would play an eight-game football schedule beginning on Oct. 24, leading up to the conference championship game on Dec. 19. At the time of this writing, no decision has been made on the other fall sports.
Shortly after the Big Ten made its announcement, the MAC issued a statement saying it would not change its course to decide not to play this fall.
"Currently there are no plans to play a fall season in any sport," MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a statement. "We are focused on providing our fall student-athletes meaningful competitive experiences in the spring."
There is a finanical aspect to the decision. MAC schools rely heavily on playing nonconference games and subsidies from tuition and other funds to keep their athletic departments running. Football is one of the big money-makers for many of the 12 schools in the conference and getting as much money as possible from the season is imperative.
A spring season would possibly allow for fans and ticket sales to help boost revenues.
Tony Paul of the Detroit News reported that in the 2018-19 fiscal budget, CMU reported $2,090,000 in football revenue, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in ticket sales. Generally, however, CMU and the other Michigan MAC schools lose millions of dollars a year on football.
Additionally, Nick Piotrowicz from the Toledo Blade reported a plan to start the football season on Feb. 20 is in the subcommittee stage. Reportedly, ESPN has expressed interest in broadcasting the MAC's season on its platform.
During a regular fall season, MAC schools receive more than $600,000 per year from the ESPN TV deal, which includes weeknight "MACtion" games.