What is the future of small college football?
Here we are, on the brink of yet another college football season, but this one is unique in many ways.
Due to the pandemic, which I refuse to name, it has put many question marks on sports in general But let’s focus on one sport; specifically, one conference.
The Mid-American Conference (MAC), like the Big Ten, has suspended its 2020 football season. This means when you’ve had a rough week and it’s only Wednesday, you cannot tune in to the sports channel to watch MAC football for comfort.
What does this mean for athletic departments within the MAC? It means the loss of millions of dollars that go toward keeping these athletics departments going. These are dollars that pay everything from staff members to men’s lacrosse, so a loss in funding means cuts are looming in the future for the Mid-American Conference.
Kent State (a MAC school) will likely lose $5 million or more in guaranteed money due to the cancellation of scheduled 2020 football games against teams like Penn State, Kentucky and Alabama.
The SEC and Big Ten are essentially what keep these small institutions, like those in the MAC, going. This is why when you hear sports fans say “why does Ohio State play Kent State?” it is because of the revenue generated. A team like Ohio State wants a “warm-up” game to get ready for conference play, and in order to get a small college team like Kent State to play them, money has to be involved.
If not for the money, there is no benefit for a team in the MAC to play a team like Ohio State.
Ultimately, there is no answer to what the future holds for the MAC. What we can count on is our local D-1 sports teams like the Ohio Bobcats and Miami Redhawks to lose out on millions of revenue dollars.
All we can do is hold out hope and try to ride out this storm because, like any storm, it shall pass.
Reilly Hopkins is a former athlete and a coach at Blanchester High School. He currently is vice mayor and a council member for the Village of Blanchester.