Finally, some good news concerning the MAC and its efforts to to remain sustainable in the face of the twin debacles of the O'Bannon ruling and the NCAA vote on autonomy. According to a report Monday evening by the Associated Press, the MAC and ESPN are about to announce a new 13-year deal.
At the MAC Media Day at Ford Field last month, MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher was coy when he was asked about how the negotiations between the MAC and ESPN were progressing. It was obvious that Steinbrecher seemed pleased as he cracked his biggest smile of the day when answering the question.
After the NCAA vote on autonomy on August 7, the MAC has been sorely in need of a boost to help maintain its athletic programs and keep its identity. If the reports are correct (we'll find out later this morning when the MAC holds a press conference), the MAC is getting a 13-year deal which overwrites the final three years of its current deal, and will go through 2026-2027. Presumably, this will mean an Immediate upgrade in annual payouts to MAC member institutions, and all the early reports suggest it'll be one of the best deals any mid-major conference has.
Over the long term, the new deal between the MAC and ESPN will keep the MAC relevant for the next decade as its football and basketball teams will be featured on national broadcasts. This is a shot in the arm for the MAC that could not have come at a better time.