KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Mid-American Conference's presidents voted to reinstate the fall football season last Friday, and it includes the Western Michigan University (WMU) Broncos.
Starting the first week of October, Western Michigan football players will be tested for COVID-19 four times per week and will be required to wear masks to all practices and games.
Even with all of this, football players said they are just excited to be back on the field.
"We’re excited to be able to announce that Mid-American Conference football will be back," said Western Michigan University's Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard.
Following Friday's announcement, the WMU Broncos are gearing up to get ready to play football once again.
"I think especially for me. I’m ready. I’ve been ready. I’ve been striving for this year to show them what I got," said Western Michigan Broncos Linebacker Tre Hayward.
Tre Hayward is a senior and a linebacker for the Broncos, and said he's been conditioning and working out all summer waiting for the moment he could make it back to the field.
"We really just started a couple of days ago practicing and getting back into tune and in game shape," said Hayward.
Back in August, the Mid-American Conference was the first of the Football Bowl Subdivision Conferences to announce it was postponing fall sports until the spring.
The WMU athletic director said since then, it's been a lot of planning and preparing to make sure safety is top priority.
"We did have infectious disease doctors, cardiac doctors, all of those individuals who were really up to date and our team physicians so that they could advise us as to what the best protocol would be for us to make sure that our student athletes are tested regularly," said Beauregard.
For those players who don't feel safe with playing in the six games this season, they won't be penalized.
"The one thing the NCAA did this year is they actually made it so that when our student athletes play, there is no eligibility counted against them at all," said Beauregard.
Even with no fans at the games, Hayward said it doesn't matter to him. He's just happy the season is back.
"For me, I just play football. I love the game of football. Whether there is one fan or thousands of fans, I am going to play the same," said Hayward.
The six-game regular season is set to start Wednesday, November 4. The championship game will be played either December 18 or 19.
The game schedule has not yet been released by the MAC.