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Central Michigan president says ‘time is of the essence’ for MAC football decision

At a conference call introducing Amy Folan as the new Central Michigan University athletic director, CMU president Bob Davies expressed a desire to make a fall football decision as soon as possible.

The presidents of the Mid-American Conference are debating the resumption of fall football, which was postponed for COVID-19 reasons. Since the decision to postpone, however, the Big Ten has reinstated fall football.

“We know time is of the essence,” Davies said. “We will come to a decision quickly whether to proceed or not to proceed. The key thing is the presidents are focusing on the testing and protocols and how do we ensure the safety of our athletes and coaches and community.”

Davies said he hopes the decision will be made by Monday.

“We will also have to be assured that we will have the testing capacity and material,” Davies said. “Through this whole process, the safety of our athletes and coaches is paramount.

“At CMU, we have managed the process so that we are very low in numbers. We are working to keep it as low as possible.”

According to Davies, CMU currently has a daily average of two new COVID-19 cases on a seven-day moving average.

If the Mid-American Conference does reinstate the fall football season, Davies expects several changes.

“If we go to fall football, some of the protocols will be no fans in the stands and things along those lines,” Davies said. “Again, we’re looking at all the possibilities. We know time is of the essence.”

Folan, who was the director of Texas Longhorns’ fundraising, will have to meet some of the challenges presented by COVID-19.

“I know it’s a unique time,” Folan said. “I know we’re in a pandemic. Even in Texas, it was a different look than what normal is.”

One of her challenges is to add a men’s sport in the next two years. CMU cut its men’s track team, dropping it below the NCAA Division I minimum for men’s sports. Central Michigan received a two-year waiver from the NCAA.

“Our FBS status is not in jeopardy, and we will make sure that it will be satisfied,” Davies said. “We have a two-year waiver and a one-year check-in around July 1 with the process of adding a men’s sport.

“During the interview process, that was one of the things we discussed with our candidates.”

Davies estimated the search process began with 70 candidates before CMU narrowed it to 20, then 10, then seven and then three – Folan, Michigan State deputy athletic director Alan Haller and Arizona assistant vice president Derek van der Merwe, a former CMU administrator and football player.

According to Davies, the university and Folan are still negotiating a final contract, but that she will receive a four-year contract with an annual base salary of $290,000.

Folan is a former NCAA athlete, playing four years of women’s soccer at the University of Connecticut.

“It was party of my story, a transformative experience for me,” Folan said. “It became a passion for my professional career. The small thing we do just by checking on a kid … I’m excited to be in that capacity.”

MORE

CMU names Amy Folan its next athletic director

Michael Alford leaves as CMU AD to take Florida State job

CMU cuts men’s track and field program

CMU receives NCAA waiver, will remain Division I program

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