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Mid-American Conference delays most fall sports until Sept. 3; football still slated to start on schedule

Officials say this will allow all fall sports to start at the same time.
Credit: Tony Dejak/AP
Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher speaks to the media Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND — The Mid-American Conference will postpone the start of all "Olympic" fall sports until at least Sept. 3 due to concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Thursday.

The decision affects men's and women's competition in field hockey, soccer, volleyball, and cross country, while football and golf remain unaffected for now. The MAC says this will allow teams more time to prepare to start play safely as well as align things so all fall sports can start at the same time.

"MAC institutions will continue to follow the guidance of the Conference's COVID-19 Medical Advisory Panel, Council of Presidents and the NCAA's Resocialization of College Sports Guidelines as student-athletes prepare to engage in preseason training for a return to competition," a Twitter statement read, noting that teams and players from schools such as Akron and Kent State will still be able to practice.

RELATED: NCAA releases COVID-19 guidance, but prospects of playing look grim

Several college conferences around the country have either postponed or canceled their fall sports seasons altogether as coronavirus cases rise and warnings about another spike in the fall loom. Some (including the Big Ten) have also announced their football seasons will be played exclusively in-conference this season, if at all, while the MAC says it is working to reschedule any games that may have been impacted by such moves.

RELATED: Cleveland State, Horizon League announce that fall sports will not begin until at least October 1

RELATED: Ivy League calls off fall sports due to outbreak: AP Source

Despite the ever-present threat of the virus, some American sports leagues have attempted to restart, with low-contact events such as golf and NASCAR doing so with relative success. Major League Baseball is scheduled to begin its shortened season next week, followed by the playoffs for the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League soon after.

RELATED: When are major sports leagues restarting?

RELATED: OHSAA says each high school will determine which sports it plays (or doesn't play) this fall