DENVER (KDVR) – To play or not to play fall sports — that decision will have a major impact on colleges and universities around the country, and the impact will reach far beyond the school’s athletic departments.
A total of $4.1 billion in revenue is at stake for the major universities around the country if no football is played in the fall, according to USA Today. That economic hit will trickle down to not only other sports, but academics and the entire college experience.
Fall sports schedules are being tweaked by conferences throughout the country daily, as they try to keep their seasons alive. Most conferences have already opted for conference-only competition, and have delayed the start of fall sports to at least mid-September.
“Our students are wired to want to play,” CSU Athletics Director Joe Parker said. “I think for the most part, they want to have an experience. They don’t want to put a pause on a year and I think it’s our obligation to help try and clear the way to make that possible. And at a point in time in the future, if it’s determined that we simply can’t go, then we’ll stand down.”
As far as fans in the stands, we’re not going to see a packed Folsom Field in Boulder or Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins. So the question is, will there be any fans in the school’s stadiums or gyms? Reduced capacities? The answer to that is still unknown.
“I have concern and apprehension if we end up at a point in which we aren’t hosting fans, does that depreciate the experience to the point in which, is it really what our students are looking for?” Parker asked. “And that’s a question that we’ll have to ask of them and ourselves.”
Schools’ budgets are already feeling the effect of the pandemic, with some forced to cut entire sports programs. But the impact if there are no games on the football field in the fall will be felt off the field for years to come.