Hold On: Report Says MAC Is Having Third Thoughts About Football
First, they cancelled, then yesterday, the Mid American Conference said it again, "no fall football, maybe spring". Now, Thursday afternoon, ESPN is reporting that the MAC school presidents, including Western Michigan's Dr. Edward Montgomery, are having second (or maybe, third) thoughts about their decision, in wake of the Big Ten's decision to begin play in late October.
ESPN says the presidents will be meeting on Saturday to discuss having maybe a six to eight game schedule culminating with a championship game at Ford Field in Detroit.
The MAC was the first conference to cancel the fall football season at the beginning of the pandemic in March. Just yesterday, just after the Big Ten made its announcement to play, the MAC tweeted they had no plans to play this fall.
As the saying goes, that was then, this is now.
"On Thursday, Steinbrecher told ESPN that the MAC was working with its members "to determine the appropriate course of action moving forward." - ESPN.com
The story seems to indicate that the MAC was getting the same pressure that many conferences were getting, from their coaches.
The feasibility though seems to center around the same questions as the big boy schools - rapid player testing and more to the point, how to pay for that testing. MAC schools don't have the billion dollar budget of their geographical cousins in the MAC.
A marketing argument could be made that, a spring season would give the MAC the entire football audience to itself, akin to their Tuesday night schedule on ESPN. You would expect the MAC has had conversations with its television partners about this. Maybe spring football would conflict with basketball. There could be any number of reason why TV would not be onboard.
One more thought about television: A fall schedule has to be about television revenue; it can't be about gate revenue. Has anyone seen the crowds at Waldo Stadium in November when the temperatures are hovering around freezing and the wind is coming from the northwest?
While all the non-football arguments may come up again, it seems like the tide is turning towards have "MAC-tion".