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Thursday, September 24, 2020

MAC postpones fall sports, including football due to COVID-19

There will be no football at Huskie Stadium this fall in Dekalb.

That decision came down from the MAC Conference earlier today, where no fall sports will be played in the fall.

“There are simply too many unknowns for us to put our student-athletes in situations that are not clearly understood. We have traditionally been a leader on student-athlete well-being issues. This has not been an easy decision. For the Mid-American Conference, it is the right decision.” MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said on a video conference.

Just yesterday, NIU football players hit the practice field for the first time participating in socially distance exercises while support staff and coaches stood by on the sidelines wearing masks to accomplish the day’s scheduled drills.

“We are going to follow all the rules and regulations of the state, so we tried to be as creative as we could,” said NIU head coach Thomas Hammock said Friday.”The biggest thing for us is to make sure we keep them healthy and safe with everything that’s going on, and keep them healthy and safe off the field as well.”

Hammock has yet to publicly speak on the postponement following this morning’s announcement.

Steinbrecher called the decision “simply a miserable decision.” and hoped coaches and players can have some assurance that MAC officials will “make every effort to provide competitive opportunities in the spring.”

With the decision by MAC leaders, NIU players will sit by on the sidelines this upcoming season and become the second football conference to sit the 2020 fall sports season.  The Ivy League became the first conference to postpone fall sports back in early July. With the decision, it cemented the first cancelation of the annual Harvard-Yale football game for the first time since World War II.

The postponement affects NIU football, volleyball, women’s cross country and men’s and women’s soccer programs, as well as the non-championship segments of the men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis competitions scheduled for fall. No decision had been made regarding winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball.

More postponements could be on the horizon shortly. The Big Ten presidents are scheduled to meet later today, with the PAC-12 CEO Group expected to meet early next week.

SourceMAC, NIU

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