MAC votes to reinstate football

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Mid-American Conference Council of Presidents, on the recommendation of the Medical Advisory Panel, today voted unanimously to resume the fall football season. A six-game conference only schedule will begin on Wednesday, November 4, and the season will conclude on December 18 or 19 with the MAC Football Championship game. A full schedule will be released at a later date.
 
 “The Council of Presidents has been having fulsome discussions with our Mid-American Conference medical advisors,” said Council of Presidents Chair and University at Buffalo president Dr. Satish Tripathi. “Throughout these discussions, we have underscored that the health and safety of our student-athletes, and our entire Mid-American Conference university community, is paramount.  As a result, our Conference’s medical advisors have established comprehensive protocols and procedures to safeguard our student-athletes during practice and competition. We appreciate the effort of the many medical professionals who have contributed to this sound plan to initiate the fall football season.”
 
The Conference will implement a COVID-19 testing program requiring four antigen tests per week with all positive tests needing confirmation with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Any student athlete with a positive test will enter a cardiac screening protocol. 
 
The MAC’s approved COVID-19 testing protocols, including four tests per week, will begin Monday, October 5. The complete set of protocols will be released next week.
 
“I am pleased to inform our student athletes, coaches, and fans that the Mid-American Conference will resume the fall football season,” said MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher. “Our decisions, in August and again today, have been guided by an overriding concern for the well-being of the student athletes, institutions, and the community at large. Our medical advisory group, presidents, directors of athletics, and others, have worked hard to develop a plan that provides the opportunity for student athletes to compete. We will be diligent in monitoring the dynamic health environment across the Conference footprint and the country.”
 
One of the primary changes that led to reconsideration was the availability of tests and timeliness of receiving test results across the Conference, in addition to the changes and improvements of testing protocols. The MAC is establishing criteria relative to contest interruptions/cancelations, monitoring and reporting of test results as well as other COVID-19 regulations consistent with the NCAA resocialization guidelines. All football return to play is subject to national, state and local health guidelines.
 
No general public attendance or tailgating will be allowed at games.  The participation of Marching Band, Dance, Cheer and Spirit Squads at football games will be guided by Conference protocols at institutional discretion consistent with public health guidance.
 
“I am happy to recommend the return of Mid-American Conference Football.” said Dr. Roger Kruse, MD/FAAFP/FACSM, Head Team Physician at the University of Toledo and chair of the Medical Advisory Group. “This was made possible by the ability to obtain rapid “point of care” testing.  We will test four times a week to assure player safety.   This protocol was unanimously approved by the MAC Medical Advisory Group and we feel confident of a safe return.”
 
The Mid-American Conference suspended fall sports on August 8. Football is the only sport being resumed with all others (M/W Soccer, M/W Cross Country, Field Hockey, Volleyball) tentatively scheduled to return during the spring sports season when their respective NCAA Championships will occur.
 
MACtion is back!  

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