When the announcements came down from the BIG 10 and PAC 12 that they would not be having fall sports there seemed to be a collective groan across the country. It was almost as if all of us got kicked in the junk at the same time. What will Saturday's be this fall without football?
When you actually think about the situation, how did you not see this coming?
I know you all want to see football and be entertained. And how dare someone change something you love without your approval, right? Besides not having your needs taken care of, why are you upset?
There will be a handful of people that will say the college athletes are in good shape and not at risk of coronavirus. That is 100% not true. In fact, many very healthy athletes have been diagnosed and recovered from the disease but have later found permanent heart conditions. Some have already retired, or stepped away, from their respective sport because of this.
Others will say that schools are going to lose billions of dollars for not playing. There's ticket revenue, concessions, TV revenue and other things that come into play here. Not to mention the impact on the local community that comes with big games and traveling fans.
Well, those people need to realize that all of this money that usually flies around during a college football season isn't going to be there this year. All of the schools will have reduced numbers of fans in the stands, if there are any at all. That's a big loss in revenue.
I'm not completely sure how all of the TV revenue works out but you won't see the usual big matchups this year either. The college ranking system will be different, if it even happens. There isn't likely to be a BCS championship. So there's no real goal here for teams and schools. What are they playing for, other than the fun of it. It's not worth it for these schools to put their athlete's at risk for games that mean absolutely NOTHING.
I feel for the local bars, restaurants, Airbnb's and hotels that rely on big games that bring in traveling fans. It was going to be a bad year with or without games. If fans can't go to the games, they certainly aren't traveling to the cities.
I haven't even discussed the cost of travel for the schools now that there are different safety precautions. It's likely that the teams will have to take more buses or planes to get to games because people will need to be spread out. And there's the added costs of PPE for the schools, and the cleaning that needs to be done after a visiting team leaves. These are all extra costs that are coming at a time when there is less money guaranteed to come in.
And don't forget about the other sports. Legally these schools can't cancel all other sports besides football. It's all or nothing. Football revenue provides most of the money for other sports to survive. With that revenue shrinking this year there is less for the schools to invest in all of the sports.
The other elephant in the room is the ever present pandemic. Even though statistics will show that terminal cases are lower in younger people, they are still getting the disease. If something were to happen to an athlete, the school would have liability issues and a PR nightmare on their hands. No school wants to see their name in the headlines for something like that. It would create recruitment struggles for the future and plenty of costly legal problems.
So, while I know you want to crack a few beers on Saturdays this fall and watch college football, you have to understand that the schools are a business and it doesn't make sense for them to get players on the field this fall.