Football Is King For College Sports Finances
Last updated 7/14/2020 at 5:13pm
Any college or university that participates in football will see some kind of
shortfall in their financial situation for the 2020-2021 school year due to the COVID-19
A couple of smaller-school conferences (Ivy League and Patriot Conference) in
the Northeast already announced the complete cancellation of their respective 2020
Most of the schools in these two conferences care more about academics than
athletics, so the cancellation of football schedules seemed like the right thing to do. More
are sure to come.
The Power Five Conferences (Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC) have
either dropped nonconference games off their 2020 football schedules or plan to do it in
the very near future.
This will eliminate many high-profile (and high dollar) match-ups such as
Michigan at Washington, Ohio State at Oregon, Michigan State vs. Miami, Wisconsin vs.
Notre Dame at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field and Southern Cal vs. Notre Dame at AT&T
Stadium in Arlington.
Stanford, which has one of the finest all-around sports programs in the nation,
announced last week that it was eliminating 11 of its 36 varsity sports and at least 171
four-year schools have eliminated sports during the pandemic, according to an article in
the Houston Chronicle last weekend.
All four-year football-playing schools will realize a dramatic drop in their bottom
lines this season whether fans are allowed in the stadiums or not.
The ones that will really feel the financial pinch are the smaller Division I schools
who depend on large payouts when they play what I call their “sacrificial lamb” games
against large schools usually from one of the Power Five conferences.
These smaller schools generally get crushed on the field but use the huge payday
to finance their sports program for the entire school year. This money plus the home
game receipts for football and basketball (and sometimes baseball) generally fulfill their
annual athletic budgets.
The NCAA already shortened its member schools $375 million in scheduled
payouts due to the cancellation of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Schools across the
country have been hit with massive budget shortfalls as college sports remain on hold,
according to the Chronicle article.
Schools have been preparing for the worst since the spring when the NCAA
Tournament cancellation resulted in a drop of distributed revenue from $600 million to
around $225 million.
However, most guarantee game contracts have so-called “act of God” clauses
which should apply to the COVID-19 pandemic in case the entire college football season
is wiped out.
Closer to home, Lamar and McNeese fall into this category and depend on at least
one big payday per season. Both area schools are playing their “sacrificial lamb” games
within 100 miles from their respective campuses.
Lamar plays at Rice in Houston while my Cowboys are at Louisiana-Lafayette.
And there’s a good chance both area teams could return home with a victory—if these
games are even played.
Both Lamar and McNeese are members of the Southland Conference and are
scheduled to each play nine conference games of their 11-game 2020 schedules. A
majority of these league games are within a couple hundred miles from Lamar and
KWICKIES…I remember way back when I was wearing a crewcut and covering
the West Orange Chiefs, the big man on the campus (especially on the football field) was
Butch Campbell who was a scoring machine from his halfback position. A few years later
Butch became the “big man” on the Lamar Orange campus who began his tenure with the
Physical Education Department and later became Director of Security. Forty-four years
later (which was last week) Butch hung it up for good with his well-deserved retirement.
Now he’s like the rest of us—just a big man.
Washington is officially changing its Redskins nickname and logo as team owner
Dan Snyder and Head Coach Ron Rivera contemplate a new mascot. The new name
announcement will be delayed over trademark issues. However, Atlanta is not changing
its Braves nickname but may get rid of their “chop”. The Cleveland Indians are also
staying pat on the name-change issue.
The coronavirus is impacting long-term deals in the NFL which involves 15
players as the July 15 deadline approaches.
The NBA players will dress for their games in their hotel rooms when the season
opens in Orlando, Fla. at the end of the month.
Collin Morikawa, who led last weekend’s PGA-Tour Workday Charity Open at
Dublin, Ohio for the first two rounds, started Sunday’s final round three strokes behind
leader Justin Thomas, overcame the three-shot deficit over the final three holes, tying
Thomas after 72 holes and then beat him on the third playoff hole. Thomas had two
bogeys on the final three holes, missing a 10-foot putt on the final hole in regulation that
would have given him the victory everyone thought he had sacked up. It was the 23-year-
old Morikawa’s second PGA-Tour win and earned him $1,110,000.
JUST BETWEEN US…The independent four-team Constellation Energy
League opened last weekend in Sugar Land with the Skeeters hosting Eastern Reyes del
Tigre under the lights with fans in the stands sitting at least six feet apart. It resulted in a
crowd of 1,800 mask-wearing fans which is about 30 per cent capacity and could be
considered a snapshot of what watching live professional sports will be like in the
COVID-19 era. The league features the Clemens family, with Koby Clemens managing
Team Texas with his famous father Roger assisting and brothers Kody and Kacy
Clemens playing. The game was exactly what Gov. Greg Abbott asked for.