Saturday’s matchup between Ohio and Kent State in Kent, OH has been canceled due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the Golden Flashes’ program. Per the Mid-American Conference league office, the Dec. 12 game has been declared a no contest.
This is the second consecutive cancelation for Kent State (3-1, 3-1 MAC) due to COVID-19 issues within the roster. The Golden Flashes’ Dec. 5 matchup with Miami (OH) was similarly canceled last week.
Ohio (2-1, 2-1 MAC) also faced a recent cancelation in its MAC East showdown with Buffalo on Dec. 5 due to COVID-19 issues within its program. The Bobcats have been struck three times by cancelations and only completed half of their 6-game regular season schedule.
Out of 36 regular season MAC games this season, four have been canceled, meaning 88.9 percent have proceeded without any issues. All cancelations have been the result of COVID-19 issues existing within either Ohio or Kent State.
As this was supposed to be a regular season finale, both teams’ 2020 seasons may be over. As an increasing number of bowl games draw cancelations, postseason is becoming less of a certainty. The MAC may particularly receive the short end of the stick come bowl season, given the travel proximity to most bowl sites and the limited sample size of games.
The MAC Championship Game, which will feature Buffalo pitted against either Western Michigan or Ball State, will be held Friday, Dec. 18 on ESPN. When asked about rescheduling canceled games that weekend on the conference’s media day, MAC commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher said, “The week of our championship game will be only the championship game.”
However, the commissioner further elaborated, “If we have games that end up being canceled, depending on the timing of that, if there is an opportunity to recreate games from teams that do not have issues, we will try and facilitate that. But we will take that on a week-by-week and game-by-game basis.”
Ohio and Kent State both have an open date that weekend, and if neither program receives a bowl bid, the athletic departments could explore rescheduling the game if the league office permits.
Otherwise, Ohio will finish 2020 having three games played, while Kent State will have seen the field four times in this season filled with uncertainty.