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Report: Mid-American Conference to make changes in basketball postseason structure; eliminate several non-revenue postseason tournaments

Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher discussed the changes in an exclusive interview with WTOL-TV on Tuesday afternoon.

MAC Basketball / Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

Updated at 5:28 p.m. EST to reflect Nick Piotrowicz’ confirmation of the initial report by Jordan Strack, and to correct phrasing around potential elimination of postseason tournament.

Updated at 7:31 p.m. EST to reflect the release of the Mid-American Conference’s confirmation of potential changes to the postseasons of all 24 sponsored sports.

Updated at 7:49 p.m. EST to clarify minor scheduling adjustments for basketball, baseball and softball, including the reported elimination of divisons in MBB/WBB.

The Mid-American Conference made waves in March, cancelling both their men’s and women’s tournament prior to the start of the second day of competition at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, and they’re set to make further waves when sports resumes in the upcoming seasons.

In an exclusive interview with WTOL’s Jordan Strack on Tuesday, Mid-American Conference commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher said that the MAC will be instituting changes to the postseasons for ten different sports, most notably for men’s and women’s basketball.

An official with the Mid-American Conference did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter, per Nick Piotrowicz of the Toledo Blade, who confirmed Strack’s report Tuesday evening.

The Mid-American Conference released a statement to the press confirming previous reports from WTOL and the Toledo Blade on Tuesday evening, citing the changes came about as part of a “working group to explore efficiencies in sports operations across its 24 sponsored sports.”

“Every student-athlete will compete for a conference championship and earn an opportunity for participation in NCAA postseason competition,” the MAC said in its press statement. “MAC member institutions will continue to operate consistent with NCAA Division I FBS regulations. The plan covers four years and will be evaluated as the economic situation stabilizes and improves.”

Over the next four seasons, men’s and women’s basketball will change over to a 20-game conference schedule. The basketball conference post-season tournament will now take eight teams directly to Cleveland, eliminating the campus round games. It is not yet known if the byes for the top four seeds have also been eliminated.

Previous reports indicated divisions would be eliminated as part of the conference’s changes, but the conference did not indicate such a change as of yet in their statement.

The statement also confirmed the elimination of postseason play for eight sports, including: baseball, softball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, women’s lacrosse, and field hockey. Those changes will remain in effect over the next four seasons as well.

The statement also clarified the status of the postseason tournament for the remaining nine sports which were not previously reported, which mostly reduced the number of days or teams participating in postseason play.

Included among the listed alterations are: volleyball (four-team); men’s swimming & diving (three-day); women’s swimming & diving (three-day); men’s indoor and outdoor track & field (two-day); women’s indoor and outdoor track & field (two-day); men’s golf (two-day) and women’s golf (two-day).

Baseball and softball will also shift to a 30-game regular season schedule as part of the changes.

With several of the eliminated postseasons having MAC members playing in different conferences, it’s unknown if they will be affected by the changes as of current.

As this is a developing story, we will update with any additional information as it becomes available.