Many seem to be up in the air as to whether or not colleges and universities should even be thinking about trying to bring athletics back this year. Some say yes, while others say no.
As these universities and colleges across the country continue to try and make the safest and best decisions about this, fans in our small state of SC got a little taste of what many fear is going to be an awfully normal sight.
Yesterday it was announced that Furman is cutting out their baseball and men’s lacrosse programs as they are dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Many believe this is just the start, as many schools will start to cut other athletic programs as they begin to battle with the monetary issues due to this continuing pandemic.
Furman issued the following press release detailing the decision they were forced to make.
“In an effort to address the unprecedented financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Furman University on Monday announced that it would cut the salaries of the president and senior administrators, implement furloughs and budget reductions, and discontinue the baseball and men’s lacrosse programs.”
Schools are losing funds due to several factors brought on by the current pandemic. These include the fact that they had to cancel many conference tournaments, their entire spring seasons were canceled, and tuition has taken a hit because of the still unknown as to when or even whether students will return at all this fall for on campus classes.
The good news at Clemson is that all of the athletic programs to this point are safe for now. The Tigers are one of a few universities that are fortunate that the football program has helped to give their athletic program a larger safety net than some others.
The support from boosters, media contracts like the ACC Network, the earnings from home games, and five consecutive trips to the College Football Playoff have Clemson on much better financial standing.
Back in April, Clemson released an estimation of what they expected the financial impact of COVID-19 had on their athletics programs to that point. They expected at that time to save an estimated $2.35 million in expenses but they also expected to lose approximately $3.368 million in revenue. That balanced out to a net loss of around $1.038 million because of the coronavirus.
The numbers at that time were an estimation for spring sports and it was stated that the financial impact would be much greater if the football season is not played this fall.
Clemson Athletic Director, Dan Radakovich, said earlier this spring that the Clemson Athletic Department was still doing well overall, even with the impact that the coronavirus has had and he has stood by his optimistic approach as he still hopes to have a football season of some type in 2020. The current shutdown can only go for so long before it does start affecting even the larger programs though.
As the country is now headed into the middle of May, the eyes become more fixed on the states that are currently opening up at different paces as we wait to see how that goes in hopes that it might give hope that fall semesters will be able to start like planned and that there will be some type of football season.
If not, then it could mean more of what has been seen this week at Furman, along with some other smaller schools. This may become one of the new norms and that can’t be seen as good no matter who you are.