Will the MAC’s decision to cancel season impact the power-five?

August 9th, 2020 in Uncategorized By Bob Heyrman

The Mid-American Conference (MAC) recently canceled its 2020 football season due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Will the other conferences follow?

I can’t help but wonder if this is the start of what is to come regarding the 2020 college football season.  With the MAC opting to cancel the season, is this something we should expect to see in the near future from the ‘power-five’ college football conferences?  Maybe this decision will spark a trend we’re greatly dreading.

With not wanting to risk student-athletes health, and already financially hampered, the MAC went ahead and shut down the league.  I completely understand the decision.  The MAC is not nearly as profitable as the likes of the SEC, BIG TEN, and perhaps trying to avoid any future lawsuits if athletes, unfortunately, contract COVID-19 and fall ill or even die, the MAC wisely decided to make their student’s health concerns a priority.  Also, the MAC schools, already financially strapped due to COVID-19 are not even certain they can safely open for classes this fall, how can you plan to have football if the students continue remote learning?

Eastern Michigan athletic director Scott Wetherbee said, in an article published by AP, he has been feeling a sense of inevitability for two weeks about the MAC canceling fall football, but can’t predict whether this decision trickles up to other conferences.

“Could it? Certainly. There’s certainly a narrative out there that could happen,” Wetherbee said. “No, it wouldn’t shock me if some followed suit. In fact, it would shock me if some didn’t.”

It’s difficult for these money mongrels to reason when all they can think about is the money lost if they cancel their season.  It’s definitely the case surrounding the NFL.  Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to be leading the NFL into battle, barely batting an eye at the fact the World is still facing this crisis.  The cases in America continue to worsen, yet the NFL appears to be entering the 2020 season with a ‘business as usual’ feel to things.  Sure, the league is adapting a few things like cutting rosters from 90 players to 80.  Many teams, such as the Detroit Lions, have inserted plexiglass in between the player’s stalls in the locker room.  Will it be enough?  Time will tell, but I have my concerns.

If we have our doubts about professional football players being able to play games without having a bubble format implemented successfully, how can we expect college kids to avoid having a breakout occur?  Put yourself back in college, the only thing that comes to mind is where the next party is, and don’t suddenly believe COVID-19 will put a halt to that, it hasn’t yet, look around.

How are things going to go when these ‘false positive’ tests become a ‘false negative’ leaving an infected player eligible to play a football game, tackling, sweating, and bleeding on each other?  It is a disaster scenario that isn’t too far fetched.

Spring football may be a very variable option for the MAC.  Hopefully, come Spring, we will have suppressed the coronavirus and enjoying a much more typical lifestyle.  Spring football may become very intriguing for fans as well, especially if the NFL treks on this fall and the power-five colleges try to follow; the MAC could potentially have the market cornered in the Spring when we the fans are still craving the gridiron.