Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner for the Mid-American Conference
On the new transfer rules: “Only three years ago during this address, the (MAC) asked that transfer rules be reviewed. Especially the rules requiring students to obtain permission before being able to accept athletic aid at a new school, and the rules dealing graduate transfers. Earlier this summer the NCAA approved the first rule in transfer rules in over two decades. … Further work remains to be done around the issues of graduate transfers, however the changes made to date are significant, meaningful and appropriate.
On gambling: “Sports gambling has been occurring legally and illegally. As more states add sports wagering, this should additional transparency and sunshine to this enterprise as states and sports books have a huge interest in ensuring the legitimacy of our events.”
On the MAC Jolly Roger: “For a number of years, I’ve said that the Mid-American Conference and its membership are the Pirates of the CFP and FBS. Our ships and stadiums are not always the largest and shiniest, but we are manned by highly-motivated crews, players and coaches who carry a chip on their shoulder who demonstrate an ‘anytime, anywhere’ attitude, and if respect is not freely given, we will earn it and we will take it.
“In past years, I have e-mailed a copy of the MAC Jolly Roger to a team when it won a non-conference game or a bowl game. This year, we will take that a step further. I have provided the MAC Jolly Roger to each of our institutions and have asked that after each victory, home or away, that that flag be run up the flag pole and remain there until the next game. I hope we develop a fun tradition of players, students, boosters — whoever — taking part in this collective, victory celebration. Let’s collectively fly the flag.”
“I have provided a MAC Jolly Roger flag to each institution have asked they after each victory, home or away, that the flag be run up the flag pole and remain there until the next game.” – Commissioner Steinbrecher #FlyTheFlag #MACtion pic.twitter.com/J7gvvk8OCy
— #MACtion (@MACSports) July 24, 2018
A.J. Ouellette, senior running back for Ohio
On reaching the 1,000-yard rushing milestone last season: “It mattered to me when it happened, but in 30 years from now when I look back, I’ll be really proud of it. I wasn’t sure how much I was going to play that game coming off a shoulder injury a couple weeks before that. But when the O-line told me that I needed 1,000 yards, they put some stuff in my shoulder to help me get through the game. As soon as I got that thousand yards, they told me I could sit out.”
Looking back on his freshman season, being the guy who wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school to earning a scholarship and how that’s played into his current role on this team: “Any time I tell the story, it makes me feel like I’m touching someone else — somebody from a small school that was overlooked and I hope them to do what they love. … If a kid wakes up and thinks about something every day the way I did with football, they need to chase that dream.”
Jeremiah Harris, senior defensive end for Eastern Michigan
On what he’s learned most about his team: “What I didn’t know about before is that we are absolutely resilient. We’ve had a lot of things pointed towards this program and we’ve come through every time and put a chip on our shoulder. Coming in, I didn’t know a whole lot about Eastern. Then I got to learn more about coach Creighton, this culture of winning (and just being) really, really positive.”
Terry Bowden, head coach for Akron
On the state of his team: “Last year was just a great year to give our players confidence that we can reach our next goal, which is winning the conference. Our players have set their sights high, have set their goals very high and the standards now at Akron are much higher than what they were seven years ago. Our motto for the year is: ‘Finish the climb,’ and that climb is to the MAC championship. We’ve gotten about every other goal checked off the last three years, now it’s just time to check off that one.”
Ulysees Gilbert, senior linebacker for Akron
On Chuck Amato’s retirement from coaching: “It’s sad and a good thing at the same time. It’s definitely sad to see him leave because he was such a big part of the Akron community, and the team. He’s a great man, you can’t really replace a guy like Chuck Amato. What he did for the kids, how he was around us — just the area of football was amazing. He definitely taught me a lot. But I’m most happy for him too because being a college coach, you’re away from your family a lot. Him being at the age he was at, it was time to give back to his family, be with his grandchildren, be with his family, so I’m happy he’s able to do that and just enjoy home.”
Sean Lewis, head coach for Kent State
On his assistant coaches helping fill out a complete signing class within the first 42 days of working at Kent State: “I learned that they loved to work and they don’t fear work. … The way everyone worked resiliently, the way we were able to efficiently exchange information — I knew we had the right guys in place. I learned the caffeine is phenomenal and you could get a lot done on protein bars and Monster energy drink. … I know that if anything comes up, our staff does a fabulous job of communicating with one another, because that was the only way that was possible. For us to be able to communicate and efficiently go from the dead period, identify the prospects that were available, going out on the road, seeing who had interest, getting them to campus for an official visit and ultimately closing in on them & getting them signed — we had to go through a year-and-a-half process … in 42 days.”
Note: More will be added to this story.