MAC Votes to Play Football
Dear Kent State University Faculty and Staff,
Today, I joined with other university presidents from the Mid-America Conference (MAC) to vote to resume football this fall.
I want to explain my actions so that everyone will understand that this reversal of my previous stance was contingent upon several factors, all of which were based on my top priority of keeping our student-athletes and athletic staff healthy and safe.
My vote was driven by recent developments. We have newly gained access to rapid antigen testing for COVID-19 made available through the MAC, which we had not been able to obtain on our own. After consultations with medical experts, I believe this rapid antigen testing will allow our football team to safely resume competition.
The additional cost for this testing will be taken from payments to the league from the College Football Playoff revenue distribution and from ESPN television broadcast rights.
Members of the Golden Flashes marching band, cheerleaders and dance team members will be allowed to perform at home games. They, along with staff working home games, will be tested the week of each home game. Any other attendance at home games, if allowed at all, will be extremely limited.
Not only will members of the football team receive the necessary testing to practice and compete in a safe environment, but also our employees and students will soon have noticeably expanded access to screenings for early detection of the virus. Both efforts are important components of our commitment to ensuring a healthy living and learning environment for our community. Without both efforts in place, I would not have voted to recommence football this fall.
I believe the rapid antigen testing has become a literal game-changer in the level of safety it provides our student-athletes, band members, and cheer and dance team participants. As such, please understand that should these new tests not be provided as promised, I will reverse course again and put a halt to playing football. The health and safety of the members of our Golden Flashes community will always drive my decisions.
On a national level, other fall sports remain on track to be played next semester; the NCAA just recently set the dates for these national championships in the spring. As we learn more, we will continue to consult with our medical experts and follow NCAA guidelines regarding testing for these other valued squads.
It is my great hope that we will be able to successfully launch another winning season of Golden Flashes football.