KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Tuesday afternoon, the Big Ten Conference and the PAC-12 announced that they were canceling their fall football season due to safety and health concerns.
Robin Hook said that’s news they’ve already been dealing with at Western Michigan University since Saturday when the Mid-American Conference decided to cancel their season.
“It’s going to be an emptiness I guess you could say for all of us who were involved in this everyday,” said Hook, who’s the associate athletic director at WMU. “It’s what we get up and do. It’s going to be a little bit different."
Hook said the MAC is hoping to resume football in spring 2021.
He said the presidents of the MAC schools voted unanimously a few days ago to postpone the season. They were among the first conferences at the Football Bowl Subdivision level to make that decision.
“In the end they made the right decision because the well-being of our student athletes is first and foremost,” Hook said during a Zoom interview. “It’s one of the founding principles of the Mid-American Conference. And so they had that in mind when they made this very difficult decision.”
Hook said nobody wanted to cancel fall sports. Many of the schools are expected to take a financial hit, including WMU.
The Broncos were scheduled to play Notre Dame this year. Hook said they were guaranteed over $1,000,000 for that game. However, now that it’s not happening, it's lost revenue.
Fortunately all of their other teams will remain intact despite the financial blow, he said.
“Cutting sports was not something that was in the plans,” Hook said. “We fund 16 sports for men and women and we don’t see changing that at all at this point.”
He said WMU officials sat down over the summer and went over the budget to make sure that they could keep all 16 of their teams, considering it’s the number of teams needed in order to remain a Division-1 school.
And, he’s hopeful they’ll all be able to play in the springtime, he said.
“I just want to tell our Broncos fans out there that we love you,” Hook said. “We’re going to be back playing games and we want you to continue to support us.”