Published August 10, 2020
Fall sports, including football, are being postponed at UB and the other institutions in the Mid-American Conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MAC’s Council of Presidents unanimously voted on Saturday to postpone play in the fall, citing the health and safety of its student-athletes, coaches and communities as its top priority.
The conference intends to provide competitive opportunities for student-athletes in these sports during the spring semester of 2021.
In addition to football, the UB teams affected are men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. At this time, there have been no decisions made regarding winter sports, which include men’s and women’s basketball.
“The decision is grounded in the core values of the conference that prioritize student-athlete well-being, an area the MAC has traditionally taken a leadership role,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in making the announcement. “Clearly, we are charting a conservative path — and it is one that has been recommended by our medical advisory group. It is a decision that affects roughly 2,500 student-athletes who live for the moment to compete. Those opportunities and moments are fleeting, and our student-athletes have a limited window in which to showcase their talent, passion and drive for excellence,” Steinbrecher said.
“I am heartbroken we are in this place. However, I take comfort and want to give assurance to our student-athletes, coaches and fans that we have their best interest at heart, and we will make every effort to provide competitive opportunities in the spring.”
UB President Satish K. Tripathi, chair of the MAC Council of Presidents, said the decision was made “in the best interest of all Mid-American Conference student-athletes, athletics departments and university communities.”
“The Council of Presidents has always maintained that the health, safety and well-being of everyone within our conference, especially our student-athletes, is our top priority” Tripathi said.
“Personally, I feel for all of our student-athletes and staff who have been affected by this decision,” said UB Athletic Director Mark Alnutt. “They have prepared very hard for their respective fall sport seasons, doing so by adhering to the very strict health and safety guidelines that we have in place. I’m so proud of how they represent UB and the Mid-American Conference.”
David Sayler, chair of the MAC Council of Directors of Athletics and AD at Miami, noted that postponing fall sports “was not an easy decision, but one that we had to make in the best interests of our student-athletes, coaches and institutions.”
“It is our responsibility to give our student-athletes an experience that allows them to participate at the highest level in the safest manner possible. After consulting with our Medical Advisory Panel, we felt there were just too many unknowns surrounding the pandemic for us to proceed with the fall season.”
The MAC has begun formalizing plans for the 2021 spring semester. It will continue to consult with its Medical Advisory Panel and monitor developments surrounding the pandemic with state and local health officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and governmental entities.