BYU announces 2012 football recruiting class

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(Here’s BYU’s press release on its Class of 2012.)

PROVO, Utah (Feb. 1, 2012) – BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall today announced the Cougars’ 2012 football recruiting class featuring 17 talented prospects. The class includes 10 defensive and seven offensive players. In addition, 12 scholarship players are joining the program after serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We are excited to have this next excellent group of young men join our program,” Mendenhall said. “We recruit young men who are excellent football players, quality students and exceptional individuals. This class, along with those we have returning from missions, will help us continue to build and grow as one of the nation’s top programs.”

Coming off its first season as a football independent, BYU earned a 10-3 record in 2011 and finished with a final top-25 ranking for the fifth time in the last six years. The Cougars’ 2012 recruiting class features 14 high school seniors, two returned missionaries starting their Division I careers and one community college transfer.

Joining the program as a mid-year enrollee, Taysom Hill, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound quarterback, was originally a Stanford commit before serving a mission in Sydney, Australia. Hill helped Highland High to a 5A Idaho state title, was an All-State selection and was rated the No. 1 prospect in the state by Rivals.com. Also returning from the mission field as a mid-year enrollee is Ammon Olsen, a 6-foot-3, 198-pound quarterback. Olsen, a Utah Gatorade Player of the Year honoree, led Alta High to a 2008 state championship and then played his freshman year at Southern Utah before leaving on a mission to Mexico City.

Tanner Mangum, a 6-foot-3, 195-pounder from Eagle, Idaho, completes the quarterback class for 2012. Mangum was rated the No. 3 quarterback prospect in the nation by Rivals.com and No. 59 overall prospect. Mangum is expected to serve a mission before enrolling.

In addition to Mangum, two more recruits are rated in the top 20 nationally at their respective positions by Rivals.com. Troy Hinds, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound defensive end from Kaysville, Utah, comes in rated No. 14 as a four-star recruit by both Scout.com and Rivals.com. Rated the No. 1 recruit in the state by 247Sports, Hinds is expected to play outside linebacker at BYU and will also serve a mission before joining the team. Another top linebacker recruit is Butch Pau’u, a 5-foot-11, 215-pound linebacker from Anaheim, Calif., who is rated the No. 20 middle linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com.

Jamaal Williams from Fontana, Calif., and Summit High is a 6-foot-1, 193-pound running back who committed to the Cougars over other schools such as Oregon and UCLA. Strengthening the linebacker class is Rhett Sandlin, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound linebacker from Sandy, Utah, who is listed as the No. 7 recruit in the state by Rivals.com.

Five of the Cougars’ 10 defensive recruits are linebackers, two are defensive backs and three are defensive lineman. The seven offensive recruits include three quarterbacks, two wide receivers, one offensive lineman and one running back.

Seven recruits hail from California while five are from Utah. Members of the class also include two from Idaho along with one each from Florida, Arizona and Washington.

Of the 12 additional players returning from missions, seven are on the defensive side and five are offensive players. Four players, including senior defensive lineman Russell Tialavea and sophomores Craig Bills (safety), Brett Thompson (wide receiver) and Fono Vakalahi (offensive lineman), are returning lettermen with Tialavea returning with three years of starting experience.
Biographies and a complete list of the 2012 class are included below.

Phillip Amone^
Linebacker
6-0, 230
Orlando, FL
Dr. Phillips High School

2011 All-Metro West Conference … team captain and defensive MVP … had 50 tackles in four games, including a season-high 16 tackles in the third game of the season before tearing his ACL in October of his senior year … as a junior totaled 128 tackles, 5 sacks and an interception … led high school team to 45-4 record in career … helped school win 36-straight regular-season games … in state title game junior season … principal’s honor roll … National Honors Society … has seven brothers and sisters … also recruited by Florida Atlantic, Duke, Miami, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Purdue, Indiana and Wisconsin … coached by Rodney Wells

Dylan Collie
Wide receiver
5-11, 175
El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Oak Ridge HS

First-team All-Metro, First-team All-League, and Offensive MVP … as a senior caught 47 passes for 660 yards and 8 touchdowns and rushed 42 times for 179 yards and 3 touchdowns … caught nine passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns in roughly just one half of work in one game senior year … also played quarterback part of senior year due to injuries and passed for 345 yards and five touchdowns … had at least 100 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns in each his playoff games … caught 42 passes for 543 yards and 8 touchdowns his junior year … brothers Zac and Austin both played wider receiver for BYU, along with father Scott … recruited by Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Utah and Washington State … coached by Eric Cavaliere

Matt Hadley
Defensive back
5-11, 190
Connell, Wash.
Connel High School

Rushed for 2,516 yards and state-record 47 touchdowns as a junior while also scoring three more touchdowns on defense and special teams … finished high school career with 6,881 rushing yards and scored a state-record 746 points … had 168 rushing yards and three touchdowns, including scoring runs of 70 and 40 yards, in state title game as a senior … won two 1A state titles (2009, 2011) … 1A Player of the Year (2009, 2010) … Played running back and defensive back … had 2,162 rushing yards as a senior … coached by Zach Fife

Micah Hannemann^
Defensive back
6-1, 190
Alpine, UT
Lone Peak HS

5A First Team All-State in 2011 … honorable mention All-State in 2010 … won 5A state title in 2011 … helped Lone Peak to 25-2 record in two years … recorded 58 tackles, two sacks, six pass breakups and forced one fumble as a senior … also caught 35 passes for 526 yards and eight touchdowns … brother, Jacob, will also play defensive back for BYU … also recruited by Southern Utah, Utah and Utah State … coached by Tony McGeary

Taysom Hill*
Quarterback
6-2, 210
Pocatello, Idaho
Highland HS

2008 5A All-Idaho Player of the Year as a senior after quarterbacking Highland to its first state title since 2002 … listed as the 30th-best quarterback prospect in the nation coming out of high school in 2009 by Scout.com and Rivals.com … listed as the top recruit in the state of Idaho by Rivals.com … led Highland to the Idaho State 5A championship as a senior … Idaho’s Gatorade High School Player of the Year as a senior … first team all-state selection also earned all-region and conference player of the year accolades … completed 166-of-258 passes (64.3 percent) and threw for 2,269 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior … also rushed for 1,491 yards and 24 TDs, averaging 10.2 yards per carry and 124.3 rushing yards per game … holds school single-season and career records for total offense … also lettered in basketball and track and field … older brother Jordan played defensive tackle at Arizona State and other brother Dexter played quarterback at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College, Northern Iowa and Dixie State (Utah) … served LDS mission to Sydney, Australia … originally committed to Stanford before mission … also recruited by Arizona, Washington State, Boise State and Utah … coached by Gino Mariani

Troy Hinds^
Linebacker
6-5, 235
Kaysville, Utah
Davis HS

Four-star recruit by Rivals.com, rated the No. 14 defensive end and No. 2 overall prospect in state of Utah … ranked the No. 1 in-state recruit by 247Sports and and No. 2 in-state recruit by ESPN.com … four-star recruit by Scout.com, ranked the No. 23 overall defensive end … 5A All-State selection all four years of high school … Maxpreps All-American … All-Region MVP and All-Area MVP … led team in sacks as sophomore (8.0), junior (7.5) and senior (9.0) … led team in tackles sophomore (96) … led Davis to a league title in 2009 and 23-9-1 record in three years … recorded 7 tackles, one sack and caught a 39-yard touchdown pass in a 14-10 victory over Syracuse as a senior … forced four fumbles as a senior … also lettered in basketball and track … also recruited by Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Georgia Tech, Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma Stanford, UCLA, Utah and Washington State … coached by Ryan Bishop

Austin Hoyt
Offensive line
6-7, 260
Jackson, Calif.
Argonaut High School

2011 Cal-Hi All-State First Team … 2011 League MVP, 2011 All-Area Second Team Defense, 2010 First team All-League … ranked the No. 12 defensive end in the west and No. 78 overall player in California by Scout.com … recorded 70 tackles, 2 sacks and scored two defensive touchdowns (1 fumble recovery and 1 interception return) as a senior … also caught 10 passes for 325 yards, 4 touchdowns and caught a 2-point conversion at tight end … recorded 109 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 blocked kicks and recovered a fumble as a junior while catching 8 passes for 111 yards and one touchdown at tight end … Academic All-League in 2010 and 2011 … was student-body president as a senior …. honor roll all four years of high school … also was All-League in basketball in 2010 and 2011 … also recruited by Utah, Air Force, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, UCLA, Arizona, Army, Harvard and Utah State … coached by Rich Davis

Marques Johnson*
Defensive lineman
6-2, 310
Los Angeles, Calif.
El Camino CC

First-team All-League, Second-team All-City … Team captain and lineman of the year … led El Camino to a No. 2 ranking in sacks (38), pass defense (176.5 ypg) and scoring defense (19 ppg) and No. 3 in total defense (288.5 ypg) … recorded a team-high 14.5 tackles for loss for minus-38 yards, four sacks, forced one fumble and recovered one fumble … earned Scholar Baller Award … has three brothers and sisters … also recruited by Indiana, Washington State and Texas Tech … coached by Ruffin Patterson

Theodore King
Defensive lineman
6-3, 235
San Jose, Calif.
Valley Christian School

All-Area First Team, All-Mercury honorable mention, All-League honorable mention … led team to a conference title as a junior and a second-place regional finish … participated in Nike SPARQ combine in Oakland and named to All-Combine squad with a 90.24 rating (sixth among defensive players)… also recruited by Fresno State, Nevada, Oregon State, Sacramento State and San Jose State … coached by Mike Machado

Jherremya Leuta-Douyere
Linebacker
6-1, 235
Garden Grove, Calif.
Servite HS

First-team Trinity League … First-team All-Pac 5 … 2011 Trinity League Defensive MVP … team co-captain … won state title as a sophomore … played linebacker, defensive end, fullback and offensive guard in high school … rated No. 5 fullback in the nation by Scout.com … also recruited by Oregon State, Colorado, Hawaii and UCLA … coached by Troy Thomas

Tanner Mangum^
Quarterback
6-3, 195
Eagle, Idaho
Eagle HS

Rated No. 1 prospect in the state of Idaho, No. 3 overall quarterback in the nation and No. 59 overall prospect by Rivals.com … rated No. 15 quarterback by Scout.com … Co-MVP of Elite 11 Camp … MVP of the Under Armour All-America Game … participated in The Opening, a five-day Nike football event and was named to the 7on7 All-Tournament team after leading his squad to the championship game … 5A Southern Idaho Conference Offensive Player of the Year … All-State … completed a school-record 268 of 393 passes for 3,885 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior … set a single-game school record completing 37 of 53 passes for 469 yards and six touchdowns … threw for 874 yards and 10 touchdowns before missing most of his junior year with a an injury … Academic All-Conference all of high school … ESPN lists him as “an efficient, technically consistent pocket passer that is an above average athlete as well” … older brother, Parker, also played football at BYU while sister, Meredith, played soccer at Boise State … also recruited by Arkansas, Boise State, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Utah and Washington State … coached by Paul Peterson

Ammon Olsen*
Quarterback
6-3, 198
Draper, Utah
Southern Utah

Utah’s 5A Most Valuable Player and Gatorade Player of the Year honors as a senior while leading Alta High School to the 2008 state title … completed 193 of 306 passes (63.1 percent) for 3,209 yards and 36 touchdowns and ran for 860 yards and another 11 scores as a senior while leading his team to four second-half comeback wins … member of back-to-back state championship teams in 2007 and 2008 as well as three consecutive region title teams … exceptional athlete was also a three-year letterman on the AHS basketball team, earning Region 2 MVP honors as a senior … Attended Southern Utah University as a freshman in 2009, playing in six games while completing 57.1 percent of his passes (8-of-14) for 115 yards and two touchdowns … added 44 yards rushing on 10 carries (4.4 ypc) … served an LDS mission to Mexico City … coached in high school by Les Hamilton

Butch Pau’u
Linebacker
6-0, 220
Anaheim, Calif.
Servite HS

First-team All-State, First-team All-County and First-team All-Orange County while picking up Trinity League Defensive Player of the Year honors … one of six ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports All-State Multi-Purpose First Team selections in 2011 as a LB/TE … No. 19 overall middle linebacker and No. 51 overall prospect in California on Rivals.com … No. 21 overall middle linebacker on Scout.com …Earned MVP linebacker honors at the LA Nike Camp in 2011 … played in state championship game in 2010 … helped team to CIF titles in 2010 and Trinity League titles in 2010 and 2011 … also played basketball … also recruited by Colorado, Utah, Washington, Iowa State, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State … coached by Troy Thomas

Steven Richards^
Defensive end
6-4, 240
Sandy, Utah
Alta HS

5A All-State honorable mention (2011) … All-Region First Team selection (2011) … recorded 30 receptions for 393 yards and four touchdowns as a senior at tight end … led Alta to a 9-2 record, league title and regional runner-up finish … as a junior caught 28 passes for 336 yards and one touchdown … does a great job of catching the ball with his hands, shows surprising quickness and moves after the catch, and knows how to get open … also recruited by Utah State, Stanford and UCLA … coached by Les Hamilton

Rhett Sandlin
Linebacker
6-3, 225
Sandy, Utah
Alta HS

Rated No. 59 at the safety position and seventh-best prospect in Utah by Rivals.com … 5A All-State honorable mention (2010, 2011) … All-Region First Team selection (2010, 2011) … Utah Elite 33 Tanoa Bowl … as a senior, led team to 9-2 record, league title and regional runner-up finish … totaled 84 tackles, 3.0 sacks, five pass deflections, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a senior at linebacker … played safety and linebacker as a junior and totaled 117 tackles, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception … 3-year starter and four-year letterwinner … also recruited by Stanford, Oregon State, Washington, Wyoming and Utah … coached by Robert Stevens

Josh Weeks^
Wide receiver
6-4, 200
Show Low, Ariz.
Show Low HS

Maxpreps All-American (2009, 2010) … 2011 AzFCA All-State … selected to play in 2011 Semper Fi All-American Bowl … AZ Republic All-Arizona (2009, 2010, 2011) … set six 3A Arizona high school records in career and is Arizona’s all-time leader in career receptions (187) and receiving yards (3,851) and receiving touchdowns (46) … played multiple positions as a senior and rushed 130 times for 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns, caught 38 passes for 540 yards and 5 touchdowns and threw for 527 yards and 8 touchdowns … as a junior caught 73 passes for 1,561 yards and 20 touchdowns … had 47 receptions, 1,223 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore … won 2010 3A state championship … also ran track and won the 2011 400-meter state title … National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete of the Year (2011) … also recruited by Florida, Florida State, Nevada, North Carolina, Arizona, Arizona State and Ohio State … coached by Randy Ricedorff

Jamaal Williams
Running back
6-1, 193
Fontana, Calif.
Summit HS

League and CIF offensive MVP … First-team All-CIF, First-team All-League … CIF Championship as a senior with a 13-1 record and league title … had 141 rushes for 1,252 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior … also recorded 13 receptions for 254 yards and 1 touchdown … rushed 93 times for 717 yards a junior with 11 touchdowns … assistant coach was Tony Crutchfield, former BYU defensive back … also recruited by UCLA, Oregon, Boise State, Arizona State, Utah, Idaho, San Diego State … coached by Tony Barile

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

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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

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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

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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?

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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”