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MAC continues to focus on spring football, 'no plans' for fall competition

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Still no action for MACtion.

The Mid-American Conference continues to explore playing football and other fall sports in the spring, the commissioner announced Wednesday following the Big Ten's reinstatement decision.

The MAC, in early August, was the first Football Bowl Subdivision conference to postpone fall sports, and quickly was followed by the Big Ten and Pac-12 on Aug. 11.

The MAC announced on Wednesday it has no plans to reinstate fall sports, including football, this season.

"Currently there are no plans to play a fall season in any sport," MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a statement. "We are focused on providing our fall student-athletes meaningful competitive experiences in the spring."

The MAC, of course, is in a different financial situation than the Big Ten. Those schools' athletic departments are heavily subsidized by university dollars, so they need to squeeze as many dollars out of football as they can to keep their departments afloat.

If the MAC was to play in the fall, it would have to do so without nonconference games — many against marquee opponents are worth seven-figure paydays for the schools.

Meanwhile, the MAC, with 12 member universities for football, is hopeful a spring football season will allow for fans, and, thus, ticket sales.

For the 2018-19 fiscal budget, Western Michigan reported $4,078,304 in football revenue, Central Michigan reported $2,090,000, and Eastern Michigan reported $1,925,028. That includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in football ticket sales. Still, all three of Michigan's MAC football programs lose millions of dollars, getting by with massive university subsidies.

The MAC schools also each receive more than $600,000 a year for the league's TV deal with ESPN. In the spring, the MAC's ESPN games could be viewed as more valuable for both parties, because of the lack of competition for eyeballs, with most of the Power Five conferences now playing in the fall.

Several MAC schools have cut sports teams since the start of the pandemic, including Central Michigan, which eliminated men's track and field

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984