After MAC surrenders to pandemic, will other leagues follow?

FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher speaks to the media in Cleveland. The Mid-American Conference on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, became the first league competing at college football’s highest level to cancel its fall season because of COVID-19 concerns. With the MAC’s 12 schools facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly coronavirus protocols, the conference’s university presidents made the decision to explore a spring season. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

By RALPH D. RUSSO, the Associated Press

The Mid-American Conference has become the first league at college football’s highest level to cancel its fall season, surrendering to the pandemic that is threatening to halt the entire sport. MAC schools rely heavily on revenue from road games against power conference teams. Most of those games were canceled when the Power Five went to exclusively or mostly conference schedules. Without them, the strain became too much of trying to keep players and staff safe during a pandemic. The question now is whether bigger conferences follow? One MAC athletic director says he would be shocked if it didn’t happen.