The Mid-American Conference postponed its entire fall sports season this past weekend, a decision that could have a major effect throughout the country as other Division I-A conferences contemplate making the same move this week.
It also has created a united front among players in a push to save their season.
Three of college football’s biggest stars, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and Oklahoma State running Chuba Hubbard, were among hundreds of players trying to gain some empowerment in the decision-making process. They all used the hashtag #WeWantToPlay en masse on social media as their rallying cry.
The movement is to avoid what happened in the MAC.
This was a postponement, not a cancellation. The MAC plans to have all fall sports play in the spring. There is even a hashtag promoting the move #SpringtoMaction.
Still, the news was hard to take for coaches and players.
“It was just a crazy day (Saturday),” Buffalo assistant Rob Ianello said. “We have been spending a lot of time with our players.”
The impact was felt locally, too.
After all, the MAC has plenty of assistants with area ties.
“It stinks to hear the news even though we anticipated for a while it was coming,” said former Bloomingdale coach Max Warner, now the quarterbacks coach at Bowling Green. “We won’t be the last (conference). I really hate it for the kids.”
Former Plant coach Robert Weiner is in his first season as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Toledo. Now his regular season debut at the college level is on hold.
“We have a lot of amazing kids on this team and great coaches who were all super excited for the 2020 campaign,” Weiner said. “Football is like life in the world right now. It is certainly a trial in flexibility and making the best of every situation. And that is exactly what we will do, whatever that may be.”
With six local players on the current roster, the Rockets have one of the largest contingents of area talent in the country. In all, there are 18 players in the MAC who played high school football in Tampa Bay.
“It was very difficult,” Toledo’s Jerjuan Newton, a former standout at CCC, said about the MAC postponing the season until the spring. “But the only way to go is forward and get ready for whatever happens in the future.”
The MAC’s Local Impact
The conference currently has 18 players from the area
DL DeMarkus Glover, R-Sr., Northside Christian
DL Julius Hawkins, Fr., Boca Ciega
WR Antonio Nunn, Sr., Jefferson
LB Caleb Tate, R-Fr., Tampa Catholic
DB Demarcus Governor, So., Durant
DB Timarcus Simpson, So., Sickles
RB Karmi Mackey, So., Seffner Christian
RB Willie Parker, Sr., Carrollwood Day
RB Erin Collins, Jr., Armwood
RB Walter Wilbon III, R-Fr., Plant
OL Samson Jackson, R-Jr., Palm Harbor University
WR Terrel Ferrell, R-Fr., Bloomingdale
CB Jalynn Williams, So., St. Petersburg
WR Jerjuan Newton, R-Fr., CC Catholic
S Caleb Sutherland, So., Armwood
DL Geri Theodore, Fr., Clearwater Academy
OL Lavel Dumont, So., Wharton
QB Griffin Alstott, R-Jr., Northside Christian