The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced a list of changes — mainly financial and in terms of scheduling — in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday after its Council of Presidents held a virtual spring meeting last week.
The Council, which is comprised of the presidents from each of the 11 member institutions, approved a number of "cost-containment" measures, including:
• cutting the MAAC operating budget by 20% through the elimination and restructuring of staff and a 5% reduction to the salary of Commissioner Rich Ensor
• providing a dues holiday for the 2020-21 academic year, which saves each member school $65,000
• paying off mortgage notes on the MAAC office building, opening up additional cash to nine of the member schools
• reducing staff travel
• reducing officiating fees 15% in select sports
• changing in-person coaches and conference meetings to virtual events
• allowing institutions to schedule one non-Division I opponent in all sports
• trimming conference baseball series from three days to two (one doubleheader and a single game)
• reducing the championships of men's and women's soccer, softball, baseball and women's lacrosse from six- to four-team formats
• eliminating awards shows, team banquets, student-athlete gifts and select broadcasts for the 2020-21 academic year.
Outside of financials, the Council decided there will be no on-campus workouts in June or July for any student-athletes, including basketball players; all fall sports will start at a common date, which will be determined once state officials in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey complete their phased-in reopening schedules; and the MAAC COVID-19 Working Group will be responsible for creating baseline policies and procedures for all on-campus athletic activities and competitions for the upcoming year.
The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, was approved for a two-year term as president of the Council. Dr. Patrick Leahy (Monmouth) was voted vice president and Ensor will serve as secretary/treasurer.
Bill Maher, Canisius College's director of athletics, will chair the Committee on Athletic Administration, while Sarah Fraser, a deputy director of athletics at Quinnipiac, will be his vice chair.
The Council will meet again on June 26 to review the recommendations of the COVID-19 Working Group and the Committee on Athletic Administration on the resumption of fall sports.