It took about a week longer than expected, but the MAC officially is back.
The Mid-American Conference announced Friday afternoon that it will hold a fall football season that begins on Wednesday, Nov. 4, and consists of schools playing six league games. The season ends with the MAC Football Championship Game on either Dec. 18 or 19.
Full schedules for teams will be unveiled at a later date.
As has been the case with other conferences, increased coronavirus testing led to the MAC reversing a previous decision to postpone football and other fall sports. The MAC explained:
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.
The MAC continued:
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.
General public attendance and tailgating for MAC games are both prohibited. Football is the only sport the MAC is returning to play in the fall. Other programs must wait for spring calendars.
The MAC became the first FBS conference to postpone football and other fall sports because of the coronavirus pandemic on Aug. 8. It now joins the Big Ten, Pac-1, and Mountain West among bodies to reinstate fall campaigns after previously announcing cancellations.