May 12, 2020
Andrea AdelsonESPN Senior Writer
- ACC reporter.
- Joined ESPN.com in 2010.
- Graduate of the University of Florida.
The Mid-American Conference announced Tuesday that it would change its men’s and women’s basketball schedules and conference tournaments and eliminate conference tournaments in eight sports beginning with the 2020-21 season, in a series of cost-cutting measures to stem the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
A working group set up to explore efficiencies in operations across the 24 conference-sponsored sports came up with the plan, which covers the next four seasons but offers the ability to be reevaluated as the economic situation stabilizes.
Men’s and women’s basketball will move to 20-game conference schedules, and their respective conference tournaments will field eight teams. Opening-round games on campus sites have been eliminated.
Conference tournaments are canceled in field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s lacrosse, softball and baseball. Softball and baseball will a full conference round robin of 30 games.
In addition, there will be streamlined formats for seven other championships: volleyball (four-team event), men’s and women’s swimming and diving (now a three-day event), men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field (two-day event) and men’s and women’s golf (two-day event).
There were no announced changes to the MAC football championship game. In a news release, the conference noted “MAC member institutions will continue to operate consistent with NCAA Division I FBS regulations.”
The economic fallout hitting conferences and universities across the country has forced administrators to make hard decisions about where to cut costs. Several commissioners have discussed reducing schedules and travel in non-Olympic sports and cutting tournaments, but the MAC appears to be the first to formally announce those steps.