Dec 7, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Players from the Miami Redhawks hold up the trophy after winning the MAC Championship game against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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MAC becomes last FBS conference to reinstate football for fall

The first FBS conference to postpone fall sports because of the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday became the last to announce the reinstatement of football for the fall 2020 season.

The Mid-American Conference announced it will hold a six-game, conference-only schedule beginning on Nov. 4, with a conference championship game on Dec. 18 or 19.

The decision came following a meeting of the conference’s council of presidents.

“The Council of Presidents has been having fulsome discussions with our Mid-American Conference medical advisors,” council chair and Buffalo president Dr. Satish Tripathi said in a statement. “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.”

According to the conference’s announcement, there will be four COVID-19 tests per week per player, with any student-athlete who tests positive being put into a cardiac screening protocol. The announcement did not indicate if anybody other than players would be subject to four tests per week, but the conference’s approved testing protocols will be revealed next week.

Fans will not be allowed to attend the games, and the remainder of the fall sports postponed because of the pandemic — men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey and women’s volleyball — remain tentatively scheduled to return during the spring sports season.

The MAC was the first FBS conference to either cancel or postpone fall sports, including football, in early August. The Big Ten and Pac-12 followed, but both conferences have since announced they will play football this fall.

The Mountain West Conference on Thursday night voted to begin an eight-game season on Oct. 24, a move that left the MAC as the lone remaining FBS conference yet to reinstate football this fall.

Members of the MAC are Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo and Western Michigan.

–Field Level Media

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