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CMU campus community reacts to MAC cancellation, economic impact

Published: Aug. 8, 2020 at 11:00 PM EDT
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MT. PLEASANT, Mich. (WJRT) (08/08/2020)-Saturday’s bombshell announcement from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) that it would scrap its fall season in light of lingering coronavirus concerns will not only prove an impactful decision for the schools involved, but for the communities surrounding them.

Tim MacGregor considers himself a life-long Chips fan.

“I’ve been watching the football games all my life,” related MacGregor.

The Mt. Pleasant Native wears his heart on his sleeve and virtually everywhere else. It’s also his business; MacGregor opened C & O Sportswear decades ago, a storefront that still positively oozes “Fire-Up” pride.

“We just heard about [the cancellation] a few hours ago,” explained MacGregor. “Very surprised. Very surprised. Of course, we thought about it… how we’re going to handle this.”

A dozen schools fall under the MAC umbrella, together with a dozen towns that count on cash from college athletics. Not only do these games net millions of dollars for the university, money it now stands to lose-out on, game day makes dollars and cents for the rest of this college town.

“Without the sports and people out and about and moving, it usually means fewer people are coming in buying pizza.”

Main Street mainstay Pisanello’s pizza will miss that pre-game surge in foot traffic. General Manager Lonnie Derosia admits they’re doing better than most amid the pandemic, though it’s still a blow. He applauds the focus on player safety.

“When you look at the whole picture, the big picture, I think they probably made the right decision.” Opined Derosia.

“It’s going to have a big impact, I’m sure,” predicted MacGregor. “At this point, we don’t know.”

MacGregor tells ABC 12 his business is diverse enough to weather the storm as well, though it might require some changes. He just wants to see CMU return to the field when it’s safe to do so.

“We’ll figure out a way to make up for… the lost business through the fall,” assured MacGregor. “Things happen like this, then things we don’t expect come along and make it a lot better.”

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