News broke Wednesday afternoon that after declining to join the Mid-American Conference as a full-member UMass will cease its relationship as a football-only member of the conference following the 2015 season, marking the end what will be a brief four-year stint with the MAC.
In a statement released by the MAC Wednesday afternoon Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said that MAC and UMass jointly came to a decision to end their relationship after the 2015 season.
"UMass has been a valued partner during its brief time within our Conference, however the 2014 and 2015 seasons will be the final two football seasons for UMass as a football-only member in the MAC," said MAC Commissioner, Dr. Jon Steinbrecher in the statement.
UMass originally agreed to join the conference as a football-only member in the spring of 2011 after announcing its plans to move from the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) ranks to the FBS ranks in the 2012 season. At the time the MAC had 14 schools with Temple being another football-only member. But Temple shocked the MAC when it announced less than a year later, before UMass joined the MAC, that it was leaving the conference to join the Big East (now the AAC) in all sports. This shifted the MAC back to an uneven 13 schools with the East division containing seven members.
Recently the first two years of the deal with UMass ran up and so the MAC council of presidents exercised a clause that allowed them to offer the Minutemen full-membership. According to the MAC statement they made the offer on Feb. 17, 2014, but UMass declined and therefore another part of the clause was instituted making the 2014 and 2015 seasons as the final two that UMass would be affiliated with the MAC.
"This is not the outcome we anticipated when UMass was admitted as a football-only member. However, circumstances changed regarding our football membership and this is a result of those circumstances," added Steinbrecher in the release.