As more and more college athletic departments slash sports programs, the financial damage is becoming devastatingly apparent due to the coronavirus pandemic — and that is without factoring in a $4 billion loss if the 2020 football season is canceled, a scenario that will permanently change college sports.
University systems have suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in losses so far, which may increase dramatically as decisions on whether to return students to campuses this fall are being made.
100 days before the scheduled start of the college football season, a number of cost-saving steps have been implemented: the Mid-American Conference announced several scheduling changes.
Including plans to eliminate conference tournaments in eight sports; Cincinnati eliminated its men’s soccer program; Old Dominion cut its wrestling program; Furman shut down baseball and men’s lacrosse; Bowling Georgia.
Athletic directors also reimburse spring sports passes and college fees for the spring semester while instituting bans, layoffs, mandatory furloughs, and pay cuts, including for their highest-profile trainers.
More than 20 FBS athletics agencies, including Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisville, Minnesota, USC, and Washington State, reported voluntary pay cuts and/or compulsory furloughs for coaches and athletic workers.
The risk of a failed college football season looms even more prominently for the Power 5 schools.
Rishe predicts that the 65 Power 5 schools will collectively lose more than $4 billion in revenue from football, with at least $1.2 billion of that attributed to lost revenue from tickets.
Each Power 5 school would see a minimum average loss in football revenue of $62 million, including at least $18.6 million in sales of football tickets, he said.
Rishe research for ESPN used the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and the U.S. Equity in Athletics Report 2018 publicly available data from the 2017 season.
Department of Education, along with optimistic forecasts of sales growth over the next two years to meet expectations for 2020 if the US were not in the midst of a pandemic.