The Future of College Sports in the COVID-19 World
When the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping the world back in February and March of this year, no one could have possibly guessed the impact on the college sports world.
Within days of March Madness beginning, the annual NCAA tournament was cancelled. The NCAA followed by cancelling all spring sports championships.
As we head into the fall, fans have already seen the Big Ten and Pac-12 cancel their football seasons with the hopes of playing next spring. The NCAA announced it was cancelling all fall sports championships as well.
What exactly does the future of college sports look like in a new COVID-19 world?
It’s hard to find some good when sports seasons are being postponed and cancelled. The overall good, of course, is in the number of lives that are saved as a result of social distancing guidelines and even sports season cancellations.
All it would take is one massive outbreak to realize the good created by not playing a football season.
It’s pretty easy to decipher that the primary purpose of FBS football is to generate revenue. Schools like the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Ohio State brought in over $200 million in revenue during the 2018-19 academic year.
College basketball is another big earner. When March Madness was cancelled in March, teams around the country lost out on the television revenue generated by the tournament. At most schools around the nation, college football and basketball earn far more than any other sport.
Because of the declining revenue, there have been schools that have had to cancel athletic programs. Take Stanford as an example. The university will eliminate 11 varsity sports after the 2020-21 academic year due to cost concerns related to COVID-19.
Roughly 250 student-athletes will be affected by the cuts. Sports include men’s volleyball and wrestling as well as women’s field hockey and fencing.
Stanford is not the only school that is cutting sports. Other than football and basketball, most sports at universities do not generate revenue. They are funded entirely from the money brought in by football and basketball programs.
The cuts have even caused some schools to lay off staff members and have some staff take pay cuts.
The End Result
The only thing that can be certain in this difficult time for sports is that nothing is certain. The cancellations and postponements at the college level are trickling down to the high school level. The impact on the sports world will be tremendous and will affect student-athletes and all those involved for years to come.