We're About to Lose a Bunch of College Sports
The Collegiate Sports world we left back in March will emerge as a totally different beast once activities resume and there's nothing we can do to change it at this point.
We're already beginning to see the economic fallout of the Covid-19 shutdown as several schools are beginning to cut non-football or basketball sports. The University of Cincinnati has eliminated soccer, Old Dominion their wrestling program and there are more cuts on the immediate horizon.
No, we aren't going to see Football or Basketball programs go away--yet, nor do I think you'll see Collegiate Baseball disappear. Outside those three, I believe every other sport on a Collegiate Campus, funded by the school or athletic program is at risk of being deleted.
That's the fallout from the virus, plain and simple.
If you are wondering how does one thing impact the other? Well, it's actually pretty simple. College Athletic departments run largely on TV revenue these days. The big ones are not funded by the school itself. The TV revenue fund for 2020, well it is in serious jeopardy of not happening this year.
In 2018, the SEC got an average of $43 million per school just from TV Money. Yes $43 mill.
That doesn't count game day revenues, donations from alumni, product sales and/or sponsorship and rights deals. And....and in the near future, that money is going way, way up after ESPN grabbed the TV rights from CBS.
If you're asking yourself "What the heck do they do with all that money?", you are asking a really good question. It's a tough question to answer because to make that sort of request in say Alabama or Georgia means you have to wait at least 90 days for a response (Sunshine Laws apparently don't apply to some schools)....
Yes, they all have obligations to do the following: Fund at least 16 intercollegiate sports, attendance requirements, minimum amount of games played and more. Which yeah, cost money. So does travel and scholarship expenses, housing and food and other day-to-day quality of life requirements (no, athletes don't get spending money).
In fact, if you read this, you'll see that most schools also SPEND obscene amounts of money. For example, in 2018, the University of Texas had $219,402,579 of revenue, but spent $206,554,432 for close to a $14,000,000 profit. Honestly, that isn't a big profit margin.
No, I don't have that detailed a budget breakdown to see what the Longhorns spent their $206+ million on but yes, it's a lot.
According to reports---the biggest schools, such as Texas, stand to lose as much as $78 million or more due to cancellations. Which is a problem. Are the expenditures going to drop because of not playing? Sure they are. But I can't sit here and tell you it balances out because I'm not really sure anyone knows.
Because Athletic Directors are now often people with heavy financial backgrounds, they are trying to plan ahead and make things balance before they become issues. It's why potentially you won't see NCAA Soccer, LaCrosse, Golf, Tennis, Track and Field, Swimming or any other non profitable sport for the short term future. No, it hasn't been made official that the NCAA requirements will change, but it is inevitable.
Group of 5 schools like those in the AAC, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt are already asking the NCAA to step in and help them because at the Division One level, they are the ones most in danger of having to go out of business. Yes, it's part of the SEVERE inequalities in College Sports that the Power 5 can for the most part absorb a one-season loss, the Group of 5, not so much.
That's why you are going to see massive change in the Athletic Universe and its really sad. There won't be cuts to Football or Basketball because they bring in most of the money. The other sports do justice to balancing out the diversity of a College Campus, but they are not cheap to fund. Travel and expenses along make them difficult as those sports rely mostly on Sponsorship Money and donations, there's little to no TV money for any of them.
It's really sad, I hate to see this happen but it really is inevitable. Yeah, I believe that if the cuts happen, you aren't going to see them come back despite what you might here. Big time College's are not going to endanger their gravy trains. Not ever. They exist now mostly for athletics and the athletic money more than their educational mission. Which is kind of sad, but it's life in the 21st Century folks.
Time to understand and deal with it....like it or not.