by Meera Mathew
College sports are extremely important in America. In fact, in the year 2017, 31 million people have reported attending, this discounts the millions of fans watching from home. But with the COVID-19 sweeping across the globe, sports organizations have been forced to cancel their seasons. While there may be many short term suspensions, what does this mean for college sports in the long-run?
Obviously, sports organizations like the NCAA are losing lots of money, this means that colleges are receiving fewer sports funding. Already, the budgeted 600 million dollars for Division I athletes have turned into a meager 225 million.
The cancellation of sports seasons is causing student-athletes to ask for their money back. A Division III director says, “As students ask for room and board refunds we are talking tens of millions per school.” This pandemic is causing college sports to lose millions.
With the tremendous loss of money, colleges only have a few options. The Philadelphia Inquirer offers this quote, ‘“Colleges will close, drop athletics entirely or cut considerably the number of sports they offer,” said Joe Giunta, former athletic director at Cabrini and Dickinson and former associate athletic director at Temple.’ Already, Eastern Michigan University has cut 4 sports; this includes wrestling, men’s swimming and diving, softball, and women’s tennis.
Finally, the Power 5 wants schools to be able to cut sports such as soccer, fencing, volleyball, tennis, and baseball so they can give more funding to football and baseball. They are asking the NCAA if they can do this and still maintain a Division I university.
This decision will not only affect the colleges, but the students-athletes and viewers. UniversityBusiness.com says such a move would be, “a devastating blow to thousands of student-athletes, their families, coaches, and fans, and would amount to a permanent “solution” to a temporary problem, with lasting and shattering effects to those who love college sports.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, not only has devastating effects right now, but is also prompting decisions that could alter college sports permanently.