Boise States adds 17 recruits to Class of 2012


(Boise State’s press release on the Broncos’ 2012 recruiting class.)

BOISE, Idaho – Boise State Head Football Coach Chris Petersen announced the signing of 17 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent Wednesday (Feb. 1).

Today’s signees increase the total number for the class of 2012 to 23.

Six student-athletes enrolled in classes in January 2012. They include freshmen Tyler Gray (Templeton, Calif.); Elliot Hoyte (Tavistock, England); Nick Patti (Orlando, Fla.); and Hayden Plinke (Hillsboro, Ore.), along with junior college transfers Demarcus Lawrence (Aiken, S.C.) and Connor Peters (Antioch, Calif.). Lawrence and Peters are both sophomores.

The state of California once again produced the most new Broncos with 10. Six are coming to Boise State from the state of Texas along with two from Oregon. Colorado, Florida, Idaho and South Carolina each have one.

When broken down by position, 11 are defensive players with the group divided up between four linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs.

The linemen positions had the most on the offense side with three. Two running backs, two wide receivers and two tight ends, along with one quarterback and one fullback make up the rest of the offensive players.

Boise State is coming off a 12-1 season in 2011 and finished the year ranked No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 8 in the Associated Press media poll. The season was capped off with a 56-24 victory over Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.

The Broncos open the 2012 season on Aug. 31 (Friday) at Michigan State in a nationally televised game on ESPN.

Chaz Anderson, CB, 5-10, 164, Fr., Los Angeles, Calif. (Loyola HS)
Senior year named second-team all-state and first-team All-Serra League…registered 22 tackles and a pass break-up on defense…offensively, caught 14 passes for 356 yards…played both offense and defense as a junior, catching 11 passes for 123 yards, while hauling in two interceptions…two-year letterwinner in football, and a two-year letterwinner in track and field…head coach was Mike Christensen. 

Travis Averill, OL, 6-4, 270, Fr., Anaheim, Calif. (Servite HS)
Senior year named Trinity League Offensive Lineman of the Year…also garnered first-team all-league, first-team All-CIF, first-team all-county and second-team all-state honors…junior year named first-team All-Trinity League, first-team All-CIF, first-team all-county and third-team all-state…three-year letterwinner…also lettered once in baseball and twice in track and field…head coach was Troy Thomas.

Steven Baggett, OL, 6-3, 225, Fr., Arlington, Texas (Martin HS)
Started 38 games during his varsity prep career…named first-team all-area and first-team all-district as a senior…received honorable mention all-district honors following both his sophomore and junior seasons…high school coach was Bob Wager. 

Darien Barrett, DE/LB, 6-3, 215, Fr., Inglewood, Calif. (Inglewood HS)
Named first-team All-Ocean League as a senior…recorded 42 tackles – including 10 sacks…also made four additional tackles for loss and forced two fumbles…high school coach was Stephen Thomas. 

D.J. Dean, WR, 6-1, 180, Fr., Eagle, Idaho (Eagle HS)
Named the 5A Southern Idaho Conference Player of the Year in 2011…received all-state honors as a defensive back and was named Eagle High School’s most valuable player as senior…caught 56 passes for 801 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 121 yards in 2011…on defense made 77 tackles, six interceptions and forced two fumbles this past fall…four-year lettermen in football and earned two varsity letters in basketball…outstanding student being named to the conference all-academic team all four years in high school…head coach was Paul Peterson.

Donte Deayon, CB, 5-9, 155, Fr., Fontana, Calif. (Summit HS)
Senior season garnered Sunkist League Most Valuable Player and All-CIF MVP honors…was also named first-team all-state and all-county…recorded 92 tackles and four interceptions, and recovered two fumbles and blocked two punts during his final prep campaign…registered 60 tackles, eight interceptions, six pass break-ups and a blocked field goal as a sophomore en route to first-team All-Sunkist League honors…named Sunkist Co-Most Valuable Player following his junior season…was also named All-CIF, first-team all-state juniors and all-county following an 84-tackle, 11-interception campaign…also broke up 11 passes and blocked three field goals…completed his career as the Inland Empire record holder for career interceptions…was named most valuable player during the PrepStar All-Star Game…defensive standout also played offense, accumulating 524 receiving yards as a junior…senior year rushed for 1,266 yards and 15 touchdowns, and caught 27 passes for 632 yards and 11 touchdowns…four-year letterwinner in football and track and field…earned gold and silver medals for grade-point averages of 4.0 and 3.5-or-higher, respectively…head coach Tony Barile.

Devan Demas, RB, 5-9, 176, Fr., Houston, Texas (Cypress Creek HS)
Senior year named second-team all-district…named first-team all-district after accumulating 2,114 all-purpose yards and 26 total touchdowns…picked up 901 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns in just five games during his junior season…junior year named Touchdown Club All-Greater Houston Preseason…earned three varsity letters each in football and track and field…head coach was Greg McCaig.

Jack Fields, RB, 5-10, 196, Fr., El Paso, Texas (Americas HS)
Three-year starter…named team’s offensive most valuable player following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons…sophomore season rushed 160 times for 960 yards and nine touchdowns…junior season named honorable mention all-state, first-team all-city and first-team all-district…picked up 1,698 yards and 18 touchdowns on 220 carries…senior year was named El Paso Times Most Valuable Player, and was also I-5A co-Most Valuable Player and second-team all-state…carried 280 times for 2,478 yards and 25 touchdowns…also lettered twice in track and field…head coach was Patrick Melton.

Tyler Gray, LB, 6-3, 215, Fr., Templeton, Calif. (Templeton HS)
Enrolled at Boise State in January 2012…three-year varsity letterwinner at Templeton High School…earned CalHiSports All-State First Team honors following his senior season, in addition to being named All-Los Padres League, All-CIF Southern Section and Tribune All-San Luis Obispo County…led team to the CIF semifinals, recording 143 tackles and five sacks as a linebacker…picked up more than 1,600 yards and 25 touchdowns as a running back…as a junior, recorded 116 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and two blocked punts…offensively, rushed 116 times for 597 yards and 10 touchdowns…completed his career with 348 tackles.

Elliot Hoyte, DL, 6-4, 275, Fr., Tavistock, England (Bristol Aztecs FC)
Enrolled at Boise State in January 2012…played club football for the Bristol Aztecs of the British American Football National League…named first-team All-Europe at defensive end…also played basketball and rugby in high school…club football head coach was Paul Dangerfield.

Chanceller James, S. 6-2, 190, Fr., Spring Valley, Calif. (Steele Canyon HS)
Senior year named All-Grossmont League First Team…recorded 80 tackles, five interceptions and returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown…as a junior named second-team all-league…registered 70 tackles, seven forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and three interceptions…earned honorable mention All-Grossmont Hills League as a sophomore after recording 50 tackles and two interceptions…also lettered in basketball and track and field…named first-team all-academic following his senior season…high school coach was Ron Boehmke.

Demarcus Lawrence, DL, 6-4, 248, RSo., Aiken, S.C. (Silver Bluff HS/Butler CC)
Signed national letter of intent in December 2011 and enrolled at Boise State in January 2012.

RS Freshman (2011): Earned first-team JC Gridwire and second-team NJCAA All-America honors at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas…squad won the Jayhawk Conference and Region IV Championships, and finished the year ranked No. 2 in the final national poll…was named first-team All-Jayhawk Conference, finishing with 66 tackles, the second-most on the team…also registered team highs with 27 tackles-for-loss and 10 sacks…junior college coach was Troy Morrell.

Freshman (2010): Redshirt season. 

Sam McCaskill, DE, 6-3, 230, Fr., Eugene, Ore. (Sheldon HS)
Led the state of Oregon as a senior with 115 tackles en route to first-team all-Class 6A selection at defensive end and center…led the state of Oregon in quarterback sacks with 16…named the Southwest Conference’s defensive player of the year in 2011…helped Sheldon High School to 6A title game last season…earned first-team all-league honors at defensive end, and second-team honors at center as a junior…made 110 total tackles and led the state of Oregon in quarterback sacks with 12.5…started all 14 games as a sophomore in helping team to state championship…a member of the National Honors Society and on the Honor Roll throughout his high school career with a current GPA of 3.81…head coach was Lane Johnson.

Armand Nance, FB, 6-2, 245, Fr., Houston, Texas (Spring Dekaney HS)
Helped Spring Dekaney High School to 2011 5A Division 2 State Championship…senior season named first-team all-state…caught three passes for 38 yards and a score…moved to tight end as a junior, garnering second-team all-district honors…caught three passes for 20 yards and two touchdowns…named honorable mention all-district at center his sophomore season…three-year letterwinner…three-time academic all-district selection (2009-11)…also a member of the National Honor Society…head coach was Willie Amendola. 

Nick Patti, CB, 5-11, 195, Fr., Orlando, Fla. (Dr. Phillips HS)
Graduated from high school early and enrolled at Boise State in January 2012…Capped his prep career by playing in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix…one of 24 quarterbacks nationally invited to the Elite 11 camp prior to his senior season…was a finalist for both the National Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Football in Florida…compiled a 34-4 record as a starter during his prep career…set his school’s career records for completions (374), yards (5,701), touchdown passes (66) and completion percentage (67 percent)…named 8A Florida Player of the Year following his senior season…also garnered offensive player of the year honors from the Orlando SentinelBright House and theOrlando Touchdown Club…first-team All-Metro quarterback for Central Florida…named to the Central Florida All-Star Team…led Dr. Phillips HS to a 10-2 record and the second round of the state playoffs…threw for 2,114 yards and 23 touchdowns, and rushed for 626 yards and seven touchdowns…junior year led squad to a 14-1 record and a trip to the state finals…threw for 2,390 yards, 28 touchdown passes and just one interception…also rushed for 377 yards and three touchdowns…was his senior class vice president and a member of the Principal’s Honor Roll…high school coach was Rodney Wells. 

Connor Peters, TE, 6-4, 245, So., Antioch, Calif. (De La Salle HS/Laney College)
Signed national letter of intent in December 2011 and enrolled at Boise State in January 2012.

Laney College – Freshman (2011): Caught 13 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in his only season at Laney College…head coach was Jay Uchimui.

High School: Started at both tight end and defensive end for the 2010 state football champions…was a teammate with current Bronco linebacker Blake Renaud at De La Salle High School…head coach was Bob Ladouceur. 

Andrew Pint, LB, 6-1, 220, Fr., Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Valor Christian HS)
Senior year named all-state after recording 85 tackles…junior year picked up 118 tackles en route to all-state honors… sophomore year named all-state and league most valuable player following a 95-tackle campaign…freshman year registered 77 tackles…four-year letterman…also lettered in lacrosse and track and field…garnered academic all-state honors…head coach was Brent Vieselmeyer.

Hayden Plinke, TE, 6-4, 240, Fr., Hillsboro, Ore. (Glencoe HS)
Initially signed with the Broncos in February 2011, and greyshirted during the 2011 season…an honorable mention all-state performer as a senior…also named first-team all-conference as a senior and second-team all-conference as a junior…earned two varsity letters in football at Glencoe HS…rushed for 251 yards to average 11.5 per-carry as a senior…also caught 31 passes for 457 receiving yards in 2010…scored five touchdowns as a senior…recorded five touchdowns as a junior, including a three-touchdown performance in one game…tallied eight sacks at defensive end as a junior…received three varsity letters in track and field and one in basketball…won the state javelin title as a junior…voted Student Body President…head coach was Tim Duvall.

Christopher Santini, S, 6-1, 208, Fr., San Jose, Calif. (Leland HS)
As a senior registered 99 tackles (72 unassisted), four quarterback sacks and blocked two field goals…also recorded five pass break-ups, recovered four fumbles and made a safety in 2011…received all-state and first-team all-county honors at linebacker as a senior…in 2010 as a junior posted 102 tackles (63 unassisted), made two interceptions and blocked three field goals…offensively his senior year rushed for 801 yards and scored 16 touchdowns…named to the all-state and all-county first-team as a defensive back following his junior season…earned Mount Hamilton League defensive MVP honors his junior and senior season…had another outstanding season as a sophomore making 98 tackles, intercepting two passes and blocking four field goals…head coach was Mike Carrozzo

Sean Wale, K/P, 6-2, 175, Fr., La Habra, Calif, (La Habra HS)
Member of Chris Sailer Kicking Top 12 both his sophomore and junior seasons…senior year named first-team all-area, first-team All-CIF and first-team all-county…9-of-12 on field goals, including a long of 52, en route to 84 points scored…averaged 47.5 yards per punt…earned all-area honors as a junior after going 8-for-11 in field goals, including a long of 39 yards, en route to 82 points scored…sophomore year went 9-of-10 on field goals, including a long of 42, en route to 95 points scored…three-year letterwinner…also lettered once in soccer…member of his school’s honor roll and the Football Foundation Hall of Fame…head coach was Frank Mazzotta.

Ben Weaver, LB, 6-1, 225, Fr., Klein, Texas (Klein HS)
Earned first-team all-district honors senior and junior seasons…finished his senior year with 111 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss and forced three fumbles…junior year posted 87 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, forced three fumbles and made one interception…letterwinner in football and soccer…member of the National Honors Society…head coach was Shane Hallmark.

Shane Williams-Rhodes, WR, 5-7, 160, Fr., Spring, Texas (Klein Collins HS)
As a senior was named first-team all-district at both wide receiver and returner…team’s captain and most valuable player carried 53 times for 327 yards and eight touchdowns, and caught 67 passes for 1,057 yards and 11 touchdowns…junior year was named district offensive most valuable player and first-team all-district…squad’s most valuable player rushed 80 times for 640 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught 43 passes for 877 yards and nine touchdowns…sophomore year named honorable mention All-Region II District 13 after catching 25 passes for 215 yards…squad won the district championship… three-year letterwinner in football, and a four-year letterwinner in track and field…freshman year won the 300-meter hurdles and 4×4 district championships…sophomore year was the 4×1 district regional runner-up and state finalist…named academic all-district following his junior and senior seasons, and was also named academic all-state following his final prep campaign…head coach was Drew Svoboda.

Mario Yakoo, OL, 6-4, 320, Fr., San Diego, Calif. (Steele Canyon HS)
Senior year garnered All-Grossmont League First Team honors, in addition to being named first-team All-CIF San Diego County named honorable mention All-Grossmont League as a sophomore…junior year named second-team all-league…three-year letterwinner in football and track and field…first-team all-academic selection following his junior season…also named Union Tribune All-Academic…head coach was Ron Boehmke.

Big Ten pulls plug on fall football amid COVID-19 concerns

Getty Images

The Big Ten won’t play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19, becoming the first of college sports’ power conferences to yield to the pandemic.

The move announced Tuesday comes six day after the conference that includes historic programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State had released a revised conference-only schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential COVID-19 disruptions.

But it was not a surprise. Speculation has run rampant for several days that the Big Ten was moving toward this decision. On Monday, coaches throughout the conference tried to push back the tide, publicly pleading for more time and threatening to look elsewhere for games this fall.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”

The Big Ten touts itself as the oldest college athletic conference in the country, dating back to 1896 when it was called the Western Conference, and its schools have been playing football ever since. It became the Big Ten in 1918 and grew into a football powerhouse.

The 14 Big Ten schools span from Maryland and Rutgers on the East Coast to Iowa and Nebraska out west. Not only has it been one of the most successful conferences on the field but off the field it has become one of the wealthiest.

The Big Ten, with its lucrative television network, distributes about $50 million per year to its members.

Trump, coaches push for college football as cracks emerge


President Donald Trump joined a U.S. senator and a number of coaches Monday in the push to save the college football season from a pandemic-forced shutdown.

There was speculation that two of the five most powerful conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — might call off their seasons. Farther east, Old Dominion canceled fall sports and became the first school in the Bowl Subdivison to break from its league in doing so; the rest of Conference USA was going forward with plans to play.

A Big Ten spokesman said no votes had been taken by its presidents and chancellors on fall sports as of Monday afternoon and the powerful Southeastern Conference made clear it was not yet ready to shutter its fall season.

“Best advice I’ve received since COVID-19: ‘Be patient. Take time when making decisions. This is all new & you’ll gain better information each day,’” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey posted on Twitter. ”Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying.”

A growing number of athletes have spoken out about saving the season with Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence among the group posting their thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #WeWantToPla. Trump threw his support behind them Monday.

“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” he tweeted.

Old Dominion has stopped trying. The Virginia school canceled football and other fall sports less than a week after Conference USA set out a plan to play a football season.

“We concluded that the season – including travel and competition – posed too great a risk for our student-athletes,” ODU President Broderick said.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took a different stand, saying the Wolverines have shown players can be safe after they return to school.

“I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13,” he wrote. “I am advocating on August 10 that this virus can be controlled and handled because of these facts.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, picked up on the safer-with-football theme in a letter to the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten.

“Life is about tradeoffs. There are no guarantees that college football will be completely safe — that’s absolutely true; it’s always true,” he wrote. “But the structure and discipline of football programs is very likely safer than what the lived experience of 18- to 22-year-olds will be if there isn’t a season.”

“Here’s the reality: Many of you think that football is safer than no football, but you also know that you will be blamed if there is football, whereas you can duck any blame if you cancel football,” added Sasse, a former college president. “This is a moment for leadership. These young men need a season. Please don’t cancel college football.”

Players unite in push to save college season, create union


Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players pushing for the opportunity to play this season despite the pandemic.

Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players’ rights movement in the Big Ten, didn’t like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence’s message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.

“There was a lot of division,” Reynolds told AP early Monday morning.

Reynolds got on a call with Lawrence and the star quarterback’s Clemson teammate, Darien Rencher, and within a matter of hours the summer of athlete empowerment found another gear.

College football players from across the country united Sunday in an attempt to save their season and ensure they will no longer be left out of the sport’s biggest decisions.

Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma State All-America running back Chuba Hubbard, Alabama running back Najee Harris and numerous other players from Florida State to Oregon posted a graphic on social media with #WeWantToPlay and #WeAreUnited.

“We came to the conclusion, We Want to Play, their message might have been conveyed differently but at the end of the day the message wasn’t too far off from what Big Ten United wanted to promote,” Reynolds said. “Which is we all want to play sports this fall. Every athlete, I’m pretty sure, wants to play their sports. They just want to do so safely.”

The #WeAreUnited hashtag was used a week ago by a group of Pac-12 players in announcing a movement they say has the support of hundreds of peers within their conference. They have threatened mass opt-outs by players if concerns about COVID-19 protocols, racial injustice in college sports and economic rights for athletes are not addressed.

#BigTenUnited arrived on the scene a couple days later, a movement that claimed the backing off 1,000 Big Ten football players. Their demands were more targeted, strictly related to health and safety in dealing with COVID-19.

Sunday night, the call with Reynolds, Rencher and Lawrence led to a Zoom meeting — of course — with some of the Pac-12 players involved in “WeAreUnited.”

Washington State defensive lineman Dallas Hobbs got to work on a graphic and now the movement is officially nationwide.

“Just started bouncing ideas off each others’ heads and kind of discussing where we go from here and we ended up coming up with that statement,” said Reynolds, a senior from South Orange, New Jersey.

Under the logos of each Power Five conference — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — the players pronounced their platform:

— We all want to play football this season.

— Establish universal mandated health & safety procedures and protocols to protect college athletes against COVID-19 among all conferences throughout the NCAA.

— Give players the opportunity to opt out and respect their decision.

— Guarantee eligibility whether a player chooses to play the season or not.

— Use our voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials: Ultimately create a College Football Players Association.

All of this capped a weekend during which the adults who run college sports seemed to be moving toward shutting it all down because of the pandemic.

A day after the Mid-American Conference became the first of the major college football leagues to cancel the fall season, Power Five conference commissioners met Sunday. They discussed mounting concerns about whether a season can be safely conducted with the pandemic still not under control in the United States.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said no decisions on the season have been made, but conceded the outlook has not improved.

“Are we in a better place today than two weeks, ago? No, we’re not,” he said.

Bowlsby cited “growing evidence and the growing pool of data around myocarditis.”

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart and it has been found in some COVID-19 patients. There is concern it could be a long-term complication of contracting the virus even in young, healthy people, a group that has usually avoided severe cardiovascular symptoms.

Also Sunday night, the Big Ten’s university presidents and chancellors held a previously unscheduled meeting, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was not announced by the conference.

Another person with direct knowledge of the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no votes were taken or decisions made about the college football season.

The final call on whether major college football will played this season rests in the hands of the university presidents who oversee the largest conferences.

With doom and gloom hanging over college football, Lawrence, who has become the face of the sport in a summer of strife, tried to push back the tide with a series of tweets.

“People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play,” Lawrence posted. “Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19.”

Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth had a similar message, and the parents of Ohio State football players weighed in, too.

Reynolds wants athletes to have a say in the meetings that are deciding the fate of their sports — starting now.

”All college athletes through unifying and not being afraid to speak our minds and having social media to kind of mobilize, I think that box on a Zoom call is something that is pretty attainable,” he said. “Especially, in the near future.”

After MAC surrenders to pandemic, will other leagues follow?

MAC football
Getty Images

In many ways, the Mid-American Conference has little in common with Power Five leagues that first come to mind when fans think of major college football.

There are no 75,000-seat stadiums in the MAC. Million-dollar per year coaches are rare. In a typical season, NFL scouts might find one or two potential first-round draft picks playing at the 12 MAC schools that dot the Midwest. The MAC’s biggest games — #MACtion, if you will — are often played on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Its television deal with ESPN pays per year only a few million more than the $9 million Clemson pays coach Dabo Swinney.

Still, the MAC is one of 10 conferences that competes in the NCAA’s highest level of football, and Saturday it became the first of those to surrender to the coronavirus pandemic and cancel the fall sports season.

So is the MAC an anomaly, done in by its small budgets or is this a dire sign of things to come in college football?

“I won’t try to judge what other folks are doing,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. “I know we’re all in the same place. They all have their advisers. They’re going to make judgments based on the information they are receiving.”

Not long after the MAC announced it would explore second-semester seasons for all fall sports, including soccer and volleyball, the Big Ten made its own announcement that seemed ominous given the timing.

Tapping the brakes on football’s preseason, the Big Ten told its schools that until further notice full contact practices cannot begin. All teams will remain in the first two days of what is known as the “acclimatization period,” working out in just helmets. The first Big Ten games of the season are scheduled for Sept. 5.

“As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes,” the Big Ten said in a statement.

The MAC’s schools were facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly COVID-19 protocols, while also dealing with the uncertainty that campuses can be opened safely.

A move to the spring, however, could also be budget-buster if it means less revenue from the ESPN deal, which pays each school about $1 million per year, and football ticket sales. The MAC also shares about $90 million per year in College Football Playoff money with four other conferences.

“It would be naive to say that you don’t give thought and consideration to what the financial ramifications of any decision are, but this was a health and well-being decision first and foremost,” Steinbrecher said. “As we sit here today we don’t know what this will mean financially and how the rest of the fall plays out.”

Steinbrecher said the decision effects only fall sports, not basketball or others that begin in the second semester such as baseball, softball and lacrosse.

He added the decision was unanimous among the membership. Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier, supported by NIU President Lisa Freeman, has been a vocal advocate of delaying the season.

“No one wants to have football or sports more than me,” said Frazier, who played football at Alabama in the late 1980s. “Football gave me all the opportunities I have today, but I can’t do it at the expense of people’s lives.”

Eastern Michigan athletic director Scott Wetherbee said he has been feeling a sense of inevitability for two weeks about the MAC canceling fall football, but can’t predict whether this decision trickles up to other conferences.

“Could it? Certainly. There’s certainly a narrative out there that could happen,” Wetherbee said. “No, it wouldn’t shock me if some followed suit. In fact, it would shock me if some didn’t.”

NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline made clear that even though plans for the football season have been adjusted to accommodate potential COVID-19 disruptions like the ones Major League Baseball has had, they are all still aspirational.

“Almost everything would have to be perfectly aligned to continue moving forward,” Hainline said Friday during the NCAA’s weekly video chat on social media.

As the Power Five conferences re-worked their schedules to play exclusively or mostly within their conferences, another of the MAC’s revenue streams dried up.

MAC schools, with athletic budgets in the $30 million range, rely heavily on payouts from road games against power conference teams. Kent State alone had more than $5 million in so-called guarantee games canceled. Whether they can be recouped and when is still to be determined. Without that revenue, the strain became too great of trying to keep players and staff safe during a pandemic.

“Certainly there was a cost attached to it,” Wetherbee said. “But as a league we were prepared to do it.”

The move to try spring football has already been going on in the second tier of Division I.

Nine of 13 conferences that play in the Championship Subdivision, have postponed fall football seasons. The first was the Ivy League in early July.

Now it’s the MAC, which was among the first conferences to limit fan access to its basketball tournament in March as concerns for the virus began to soar across the country. On March 12, the MAC was among many conferences to call off their tournaments hours before the NCAA canceled all of March Madness.

“If you told me in March we’d be here today,” Steinbrecher said, “I’d never have believed it”