How Close Are We To Missing Football In 2020

Greg Arias

Over the last two weeks, about two dozen school administrators and a host of industry experts spoke to Sports Illustrated to answer four pressing college sports questions amid the coronavirus pandemic: 1) When can on-campus practice begin? 2) What are the options for a football season? 3) How significant is football to athletic departments? 4) And how would athletic departments recover from a loss in football revenue? “The discussion that ADs are having about fall sports being canceled is a very real possibility,” says Ramogi Huma, the president of the National College Players Association. “It’s extremely hard to imagine any football in the fall on any level.”

Athletics directors across the country are seriously discussing a very real possibility that we will be without football this season. I don't know about you, but that's a chilling statement for those of us in the media who are continuing to write stories despite the lack of actual games, coaches and player interviews, and numbers to crunch to help provide us content to share with our readers.

While the impact of the cancelation of the 2020 season on fans and media will be tremendous, the financial impacts on schools and the loss of an entire season of performance for players with dreams of the next level will be more direct.     

For years, top-level programs have bathed in cash. They’ve erected lavish facilities, signed coaches to multimillion-dollar contracts and massively increased athletic staff sizes. Revenues have never been greater, giving is at an all-time high and, while attendance has shown a steady decline, premium seating and TV money are taking off. But the gravy train has hit a snag. If it leads to a major downturn in the college football economy, then what? “We’re all effed,” says one Power 5 athletic director who wished to remain anonymous. “There’s no other way to look at this, is there?”

While the impact on each school will be felt differently, there is no question that the loss of funds generated for most schools from football will at some point reach other non-revenue generating sports. There's no way it can't if athletic departments lose their largest revenue generator. 

Vanderbilt, whose football attendance has been in decline the last two season won't feel the sting of a lost season because of lost attendance, the sting will come from the loss of their share of the Southeastern Conferences very lucrative television deal which would likely far exceed the ticket sales the university might miss based on attendance numbers for the last two season.   

Any way you want to view it, the fact that athletic directors are openly discussing the growing possibility of the cancellation of the season is not good in any way and for anyone who works, plays or watched college athletics. 

You can read then entire Sports Illustrated Nation article that goes into much greater detail on conversations held with various athletic directors in the link here and above.  

Follow Greg on Twitter @GregAriasSports and @SIVanderbilt or Facebook at Vanderbilt Commodores-Maven

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