The Mid-American Conference has become the first league at college football's highest level to cancel its fall season, surrendering to the pandemic that is threatening to halt the entire sport.
The conference, which includes Northern Illinois University, says it made the decision because of the pandemic.
NIU's Athletic Director Sean Frazier, who has lost family from the virus, said safety will always come first.
"We've made this decision with a heavy heart. We understand the ramifications of this, we also understand that the bottom line is keeping people safe," Frazier said. "We don't have a vaccine. We can test until the cows come home but we cannot prevent and we cannot stabilize once the individual does have COVID because we don't know all of the effects, long and short term."
MAC schools rely heavily on revenue from road games against power conference teams. Most of those games were canceled when the Power Five went to exclusively or mostly conference schedules. Without them, the strain became too much of trying to keep players and staff safe during a pandemic.
The question now is whether bigger conferences follow? One MAC athletic director says he would be shocked if it didn't happen.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.