CLEVELAND – One of the great questions in all of sports is how governing bodies were going to handle fall sports with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing across the United States.
On Saturday, the Mid-American Conference, which includes Northern Illinois University, made their move when it comes to the next few months for their sports.
The MAC has decided to postpone their entire lineup of fall sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer, along with women’s volleyball with the hope of rescheduling these sports to the spring of 2021.
Presidents from the member schools all voted unanimously to make this move.
“I applaud the Mid-American Conference for taking this stance,” said NIU President Lisa C. Freeman in a statement released by the university. “While we all want college athletics to return, prioritizing the health and well-being of everyone involved is the right thing to do. We will continue to rely on medical and public health experts to guide the decision-making process moving forward.”
This is a major move when it comes to the sport of football, as the MAC becomes the first in the FBS to completely postpone their seasons. Some have limited their play to just conference opponents or allowed a select number of non-conference contests, but none have outright called off their season.
Northern Illinois had non-conference games scheduled against Rhode Island, Maryland, Iowa, and BYU for this upcoming season.
“This is a hard day and a hard decision, but I am convinced it is the right decision made for the right reasons – to ensure the health and well-being of student-athletes, staff, workers and fans,” said NIU athletic director Sean Frazier. “We have heard concerns from our student-athletes and we have listened, we have relied on the expertise of our medical staff and doctors, and we can all see that the numbers are trending in the wrong direction.
“Based on the data we have available and the science, I firmly believe postponing these seasons gives us the best chance to play at some point this year.”
Notre Dame will have to make an adjustment to their recently released 2020 football schedule, since their second game of the year was supposed to be against MAC opponent Western Michigan in South Bend.