MAC volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer to be played in spring

In+this+March+12%2C+2020%2C+file+photo%2C+Mid-American+Conference+commissioner+Jon+Steinbrecher+speaks+during+an+NCAA+college+football+news+conference+in+Cleveland.+The+Mid-American+Conference+announced+Friday%2C+Sept.+25%2C+2020%2C+that+it+will+have+a+6-game+football+season%2C+meaning+all+10+major+conferences+will+play+this+fall.++%28AP+Photo%2FTony+Dejak%2C+File%29

AP

In this March 12, 2020, file photo, Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher speaks during an NCAA college football news conference in Cleveland. The Mid-American Conference announced Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, that it will have a 6-game football season, meaning all 10 major conferences will play this fall. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

Jarrett Huff, Sports Editor

DeKALB — The Mid-American Conference announced Monday in a news release that four fall sports will be played starting in the 2021 Spring semester.

The four sports, volleyball, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, join MAC football, which starts Nov. 4, as the only MAC sports with a definite plan to return to play.

The move of some of the fall sports to spring has been speculated for some time. NIU Director of Athletics Sean T. Frazier said in a news conference that the MAC was looking into a possible solution to a spring season for fall sports as early as Aug. 8.

The MAC Council of Presidents took recommendations from administrators, coaches, student-athletes, faculty and medical personnel for how to move forward with a spring season for fall sports, according to the Monday MAC news release.

“Significant effort went into devising plans to provide meaningful competitive opportunities for the fall sports student-athletes,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in the MAC news release. “Teams will have the chance to compete not only for a Conference championship but also to participate in NCAA championship competition.

MAC teams will compete in a modified conference schedule which will allow for a possibility to participate in NCAA competition. The MAC released a list of recommendations for each sport, which are subject to change due to the pandemic. Below are the recommendations for the sports NIU competes in, according to the MAC news release.

Volleyball

  •  To compete in 22 Conference matches in a double round robin format over a 10-week period between Jan. 22 and March 27.
  • Teams will face the same opponent twice in one weekend at one site.
  • Travel partners will play midweek the two weeks following the MAC Basketball Tournament.
  • Matches will take place on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • A four-team Championship will take place on April 2 and 3 at the site of the highest seed (best overall conference record) to determine the Conference automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.

Men’s Soccer

  • To compete in 10 conference matches in a double round robin format over a seven-week period between March 7 and April 18.
  • The regular season champion will receive the Conference automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.
  • Matches will be played on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Women’s Soccer

  • To compete in 10 Conference matches in a Divisional double round robin format over a six-week period between March 4 and April 11.
  • Matches will be played on Thursdays and Sundays.
  • A single-match Championship will take place on April 17 at a campus site (best overall Conference winning percentage) between the two Division winners to determine the Conference automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.