It’s way too early to panic about potentially losing the 2020 college football season, but there are plenty of reasons as to why athletic programs are worried about that scenario.
College football doesn’t provide an excellent source of entertainment for fans, it provides financial relief for most athletic programs around the country. Whether it’s a Power Five program or a lower-level school, teams make a solid amount of profit during the season.
Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated put into perspective just how important college football is for athletic departments with a graphic from the 2016-17 cycle at LSU.
LSU’s football program generated $56 million in profit, meanwhile all other sports resulted in $23 million in losses. Football legitimately allows schools to keep their other sports teams running.
When you hear things from ADs like "football allows us to have other sports," this is what they mean.
Take #LSU. Here are profit/loss numbers from each LSU sport in the 2016-17 cycle, from my time as a beat writer.
– Football: $56M in profit
– Other sports: ~$23M in losses pic.twitter.com/3Giw1YrdZF
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) March 31, 2020
The profit/loss numbers for every school are most likely different, but football should generate the most money for top-tier programs.
In the event the college football season doesn’t take place this fall, it could result in schools having to shut down a few of their teams just to avoid losing revenue.
Hopefully that isn’t the case and we’ll have the chance to enjoy college football this fall. That being said, the next two months are going to be critical when it comes to whether or not fall sports will go on as planned.