MUNCIE, Ind. – Football is coming back this fall in the Mid-American Conference.
The league’s Council of Presidents, on the recommendation of the Medical Advisory Panel, voted unanimously Friday to resume the season with a six-game, conference-only schedule beginning Wednesday, Nov. 4. The season was postponed in August because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The complete MAC schedule will be announced at a later date. The league plans to play the MAC Football Championship game Dec. 18 or 19.
“The pandemic has caused many challenges for our students, including our student-athletes. But I am gratified that our student-athletes who play football will be able to resume practice and competition this Fall,” said Geoffrey S. Mearns, Ball State University President. “I joined with all of the other MAC presidents in making this important decision based on the recommendations of a team of medical experts. Their recommendations include a robust testing protocol that will substantially mitigate the risk to the players, the coaches, and the other members of our University community.”
The MAC 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 complete testing protocols will be released next week and will take effect Monday, Oct. 5.
“In August, we were clear that at Ball State we would continue to explore opportunities for our teams to compete and keep the guidance from medical experts top of mind as our teams prepared for athletic activity,” said Beth Goetz, Ball State University Director of Athletics. “That guidance has led us to an opportunity for our football team to participate this Fall which we are thrilled about. I am grateful to our medical team, the Mid-American Conference medical advisory group, our student-athletes, coaches and staff for the diligent preparation. We will continue to create a safe environment for everyone involved. I can’t wait to see the football team in action and all of our student-athletes back in uniform soon.”
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.
The Mid-American Conference suspended fall sports on Aug. 8. Football is the only sport being resumed with all others (M/W Soccer, M/W Cross Country, Field Hockey, Women’s Volleyball) tentatively scheduled to return during the spring sports season when their respective NCAA Championships will occur.