KALAMAZOO, MI – The Mid-American Conference announced Thursday a decision to delay the start of six fall sports seasons until Sept. 3 to provide additional time to prepare for the safe return to competition amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Volleyball, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross country will all begin later than usual, but the league’s football teams are still set to kick off their seasons as early as early as Thursday, Sept. 3.The decision applies to exhibition and non-conference contests for those six sports and was made under consideration of “all due caution for the health and well-being of the student-athletes, coaches and others involved,” according to a league press release.
Rescheduling of non-conference contests impacted by the postponed start of the fall seasons will be determined by each member institution.Western Michigan had yet to release its regular season schedules for the impacted sports, but a look at the 2019 slate shows the women’s soccer team got off to the earliest start, with an Aug. 16 tilt with Valparaiso kicking off the Broncos’ season.The WMU men’s soccer team held its first exhibition match of 2019 on Aug. 18, and the Broncos’ volleyball squad first took the court on Aug. 23. The women’s cross country team began last season on Sept. 6.
Central Michigan’s Olympic fall sports lineup includes field hockey, volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country and women’s soccer, while Eastern Michigan offers men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and women’s soccer.
EMU’s football team will be the first of the three Michigan MAC programs to take the field, when the Eagles visit Kentucky on Thursday, Sept. 3, followed by WMU, which hosts Stony Brook on Friday, Sept. 4. CMU hosts San Jose State on Saturday, Sept. 5.