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Mid-American Conference votes to start college football season in November

Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher speaks during a news conference.
Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher speaks during a news conference Friday.
(Tony Dejak / Associated Press)

The Mid-American Conference, the first major college football league to postpone its season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has become the final one to jump back in, making it 10 out of 10 conferences that will play in the fall.

As university presidents in the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mountain West have done over the last 10 days, MAC leaders on Friday voted to reverse their August decision to kick football to spring and tee it up during its usual season.

Just like the other conferences returning to fall ball, the MAC cited advancements in COVID-19 antigen testing as key to the change of direction. The conference will begin testing athletes four times per week, starting Oct 5.

The season will start Nov. 4 — a Wednesday, of course — and the championship game will be played Dec. 18 or 19.

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Everything remains in flux for coach Mick Cronin and UCLA basketball a day after the Pac-12 Conference cleared teams to play as soon as Nov. 25.

“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,” Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a statement. “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.”

The MAC, a 12-school league of mostly Midwest schools with relatively small athletic budgets, postponed all fall sports on Aug. 8. Within a few days, the Mountain West, Big Ten and Pac-12 had done the same.

Six conferences, including the Southeastern, Atlantic Coast and Big 12, held firm. The major college football season started Labor Day weekend and there have already been disruptions.

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But if all goes well, by the first weekend of November, all the conferences will be playing football.


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