MAC, Ball State football to return this fall

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MUNCIE, IN – NOVEMBER 01: Head coach Mike Neu of the Ball State Cardinals is seen during the game against the Western Michigan Broncos at Scheumann Stadium on November 1, 2016 in Muncie, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS — Mid-American Conference presidents have voted to hold its football season this fall.

The league will play a six-game conference-only schedule beginning Wednesday, Nov. 4 and ending with the MAC Football Championship game on Dec. 18 or 19.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to play football this fall,” Ball State head coach Mike Neu said in a tweet from the team’s Twitter account. “In these uncertain times, our guys have stuck together and worked hard to ‘win the wait’. We are grateful for medical guidance that has kept our student-athletes’ safety at the forefront throughout this process and thankful to arrive at this point.”

The MAC will require student-athletes to get four tests per week and anyone with a positive test will undergo cardiac screening. The complete testing protocol will be released next week and will begin on Monday, Oct. 5.

“I joined with all of the other MAC presidents in making this important decision based on the recommendations of a team of medical experts,” said Ball State president Geoffrey S. Mearns. “Their recommendations include a robust testing protocol that will substantially mitigate the risk to the players, the coaches and the other members of our university community.”

There will be no general attendance fans or tailgating allowed at games. Team schedules will be released at a later date.

The MAC initially suspended all fall sports on August 8th. The availability of tests and the speed of results led to Friday’s decision to return to play.

“We were clear that we would continue to explore opportunities for our teams to compete and keep the guidance from medical experts top of mind,” Cardinals’ Athletic Director Beth Goetz said. “That guidance has led us to an opportunity for our football team to participate this fall which we are thrilled about. We will continue to create a safe environment for everyone involved. I can’t wait to see the football team in action and all of our student-athletes back in uniform soon.”

“We all love this team and believe we have a chance to achieve something special,” said Neu. “We can’t wait to get back out on the field together.”

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