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CMU football mailbag: Inflated rosters, latest on David Moore, Kyron McKinnie-Harper


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Central Michigan quarterback David Moore receives a snap against Eastern Michigan Oct. 5 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

There are so many questions surrounding college athletics. As the coronavirus continues to linger, it’s likely that many will wait to be answered until the spring. 

But not these questions – your questions.

Nearly a week ago, I reached out in search of mailbag questions and received a solid response. In the future, any questions you have surrounding Central Michigan athletics can be directed to me, sports editor Austin Chastain on Twitter or via email at sports@cm-life.com. 

Here we go:

Question: I’m wondering how many will be allowed on the roster? With incoming recruits plus current team members it seems like roster overload. 

This is perhaps the biggest impact that the coronavirus pandemic will have on fall sports programs throughout the NCAA. With the NCAA passing a blanket waiver allowing all fall sports athletes an extra year of eligibility, teams may likely be looking at football rosters exceeding 100 student-athletes. 

With the athletic department already facing major budget restrictions due to the pandemic, it’s not feasible to think that all of these athletes will be on scholarship. 

So, how does this problem get solved? 

There are two avenues that CMU and other universities with similar financial situations can take. For one, the incoming freshmen could spend their first season as walk-ons. This would allow the athletic department to regulate scholarship costs. However, making every incoming freshman a walk-on is not exactly feasible or respectful. 

It’s impossible to think that the caliber of recruit that coach Jim McElwain goes after would be willing to pay for their first year of college. Some come from families where that is not an option and would get better opportunities elsewhere.

To answer the question of how many, I’m guessing between 90-100 student-athletes will be on Central Michigan’s roster in the fall of 2021, assuming every senior returns to claim their extra year of eligibility. 

Question: Will the NCAA consider adding an extra non-conference pay game in the fall of ’21 to help recover some of the lost revenue for 2020? This plan would help all of college football and beyond

It’s hard to say. Yes, an additional buy game for schools like Central Michigan would be incredibly beneficial, but everyone is going to be losing money. Who is going to have the financial well-being to afford an extra pay-to-play game? 

I don’t think this decision will necessarily come from the NCAA, but Central Michigan will likely look to add another buy-game to its schedule. In the past, the Chippewas have typically reserved two weekends for the Power Five. In the coming years, that may become three. 

In 2021, Central Michigan’s current non-conference schedule consists of home tilts with Florida International and Robert Morris while the Chippewas travel to Missouri and Louisiana State. With financials in mind, don’t be surprised if the Chippewas shop the Robert Morris game in search of a contest with a payout to help offset the $2.15 million they lost with the cancellations to this year’s Nebraska and Northwestern games. 

Question: Has the NCAA made any notification on our QB’s suspension? Does he become eligible again on Oct. 6?

Yes. David Moore will be eligible on Oct. 6. If a spring season is played, he would be able to play immediately.

Question: Who is emerging as the starters on the corners after the recent suspensions and transfers in and out? What is the status of Kyron McKinnie-Harper? He is currently listed on the roster at the CMUChippewas.com site. 

There hasn’t been a ton of transparency with the team and its roster moves. Through press releases, we’ve learned of three incoming transfers, one of which being defensive back Richard Bowens III, and not much else. Numerous inquiries to Associate Athletic Director for Sport Administration and Communications Rob Wyman about McKinnie-Harper’s status have gone unanswered. As far as I know, he’s still suspended indefinitely. 

As far as who is emerging as the starters, I believe that Florida transfer Brian Edwards has to be at the top of the depth chart. His teammates rave about his speed and athletic ability and I think that there’s a lot of potential to be special with him. On the other side, I think it’ll be between Bowens and junior Dishon McNary. Expect Darius Bracy – who started eight games last year – to play a big role, too. 

If I had to guess, I’d say that it’ll be Edwards and McNary starting game one –whenever it is – with Bowens playing as a slot corner or nickel back because of his speed. 

Question: With the season now postponed, what can the players do? Are they working out? Is it similar to the summer where workouts are voluntary or can coaches be involved? Can they access the Indoor Athletic Complex? 

This is another topic that the media has been left in the dark on. We know the players are working out at various spots on campus – including Kelly/Shorts Stadium – and playing flag football to stay in shape, but there hasn’t been any info about the team workouts as a whole that have been made available to the media. 

The IAC is available now that the gyms have been reopened. Also, the team is beginning to transition into the Chippewa Champions Center as it nears its completion. 

Side note: If you’re looking to keep tabs on the student-athletes, check out CM Life Editor-in-Chief Isaac Ritchey’s Instagram feed. He’s had great access to players throughout the pandemic and has been doing a wonderful job visually telling their stories. 

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