Losing March Madness was a big enough hit to the sports world this month. If this winds up impacting college football season, things could get pretty dire for schools across the country.
Despite what some schools will claim, college football is a huge moneymaker. While the NCAA Tournament obviously provides a nice monetary benefit to member schools, the NCAA itself is the big financial winner from it. For big-time football schools, that money can be recouped. A lost football season would be far more devastating.
Hopefully this doesn't come to pass. That rests on all of us doing our part to make sure the spread of the coronavirus gets under control. Staying home and socially distancing as much as humanly possible is imperative for those of us not on the front lines of this in the medical industry. If the situation creeps into the late summer and early fall, and college football winds up meeting a similar fate, athletic directors are pretty nervous about the fallout.
Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinelspoke to Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin and UCF athletic director Danny White about the situation. Neither seem to optimistic about how things will go for schools if a season gets canceled. Stricklin said the loss of the end of the winter and spring sports is "manageable" for now, but football would be a different story. White called the notion "devastating."
According to Stricklin, the loss of football would be a total "game changer" for UF. The Gators football program accounts for 85-percent of the athletic department's revenue for the year.
“That would be a game-changer,” says Stricklin, who estimates that football accounts for about 85% of UF’s sports income. “… It’s not just ticket revenue; it’s the donations that go along with that. It’s the sponsorship money that goes along with the idea that games are going to be played. And then there’s the TV money. If there aren’t games that are being broadcast, we probably aren’t going to get TV money.”
For White, the loss of capital generated by a Knights football season would throw UCF athletics into a real period of uncertainty.
“We’ve been in growth mode and are building things and trying to play catch-up,” White acknowledges. “We have a small amount of capital reserves, but they aren’t significant enough where they would be a solution if we can’t make debt payments. We need to generate revenue from our football games to make the debt payments on our stadium.”
Obviously we, the fans, don't want to see football gone for a year. Who knows how that would impact the college sports world as a whole? On top of our own entertainment, though, there could be dire consequences for the athletes, those who rely on income from working at the game, and numerous others.
So let's all stay home and do our part to make sure we have college football to enjoy this September.