No conference will feel the financial pinch of one of the Power Five’s domino-tipping decisions more than MAC football.
Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten confirmed reports that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season. That means, of course, that the 14 members of the league will forego playing a combined 42 non-conference games. Nine of those 42 were to come against other Power Five programs. Those schools are more well-positioned financially to take any hit.
Then there’s MAC football.
All told, 11 games were scheduled to be played between members of the Mid-American Conference and the Big Ten. Ball State (Indiana, Michigan), Bowling Green (Illinois, Ohio State), Central Michigan (Nebraska, Northwestern) and Northern Illinois (Iowa, Maryland) each had two games on this season’s docket against Big Ten teams.
According to USA Today, MAC schools stand to lose a combined $10.5 million from those canceled football games. Bowling Green and Central Michigan will take $2.2 million and $2.15 million hits, respectively. Kent State would’ve been paid $1.5 million for its game against Penn State.
At this point, it’s unclear if the MAC schools will have any legal recourse to recoup the money. Rest assured, though, all of those impacted by the Big Ten’s decision are looking into that angle as we speak.
“Every member of the NCAA is attempting to navigate these very difficult times in college athletics,” Bowling Green athletic director Bob Moosbrugger said in a statement. “While we are certainly disappointed that our student-athletes will not have the opportunity to compete in non-conference games against Big Ten opponents, we understand that difficult decisions need to be made.
“The decision by the Big Ten is the tip of the iceberg. Ten FBS conferences have signed a college football playoff agreement with an expectation that we will work together for the good of college football. If we are to solve these challenges and be truly dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our student-athletes, we need to do a better job of working together.”
It should also be noted that BYU will be directly impacted by the Big Ten’s move as well. The football independent has two paycheck games scheduled against B1G opponents this season, at Michigan State and at Minnesota. At this point, it’s unclear how much BYU stands to lose.