How the 2019 Coronavirus Pandemic Has Affected College Sports

This surely is a tough year for the sports industry as many of the major sports events worldwide were either canceled or postponed. The beginning of this mainly started in March when sports events like the NBA, the EPL, and the IPL were all postponed. However, it’s a different story for March Madness.

It was in March when the NCAA has announced the cancelation of the men’s division basketball tournament and the other winter and spring championships that the NCAA has scheduled. According to the league’s statement, “This decision is based on the evolving Covid-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”

Because of this, the sports betting industry was also hit. Instead of people visiting sites like lines.com, they most likely turned to other gambling activities to entertain themselves. March Madness has always been a great event or the sports betting business. In fact, it even earns more revenue than the Superbowl, and so the lack of March Madness this year carries a great impact on the betting operators.

The NCAA also recently announced that since the matches for winter and spring have all been canceled, the board has unanimously voted to distribute 225 million US dollars this June to the members of the Division I to support the college athletes. Of the 225 million US dollars, the NCAA said that 50 million of this will be from the NCAA reserves.

According to the statement of the NCAA, the distribution is budgeted at 600 million US dollars. The league has an insurance for the lost revenue of the basketball tournament. However, the policy will not be paying off dollar-for-dollar. The league hopes to pay off the rest of the distribution using a loan. 

The statement regarding the loan went this way, “The NCAA said it had a $270 million event cancellation insurance policy and the proceeds when received will be used to pay off a line of credit that will cover the remaining distribution within 12 months.”

It also turns out that the lost revenues for the canceled tournament are just one of the many possible problems. The cuts won’t be announced by the league. According to many school administrators and coaches from the NCAA, the impact of the pandemic will be great for the college sports sector. The economic climate for them will be a lot different from how things will be when the NCAA comes back next year.

The ramifications will be great. It is also likely that the budgets will be trimmed for the divisions. It is also possible that the schools will even question the point of still having athletic programs for the next school year. It’s either they cut the budget for their athletic programs or decide to not have any at all until things settle with the virus.

Karen Weaver, a professor from Drexel and the former athletic director of Penn State Abington, said the following, “If you’re losing money everywhere on campus and can’t make up the difference in enrollment numbers and retention. If you can’t do it because of the changing state of our lives right now. There’s not a lot of promise in there for athletics.” 

Weaver also said that based on demographics, there will be fewer high school students that will be graduating in the next ten years, and so that and the pandemic is actually tough for college sports itself.

The campuses will surely need to find safer ways to reopen their campuses once the next school year is up. These are the first things they should consider before they decide on how college sports will look like for them. 

The recent news has shown that many college athletes have tested positive of the virus. Baylor already has eight positives. Rutgers has two football players who tested positive. SMU has 5 athletes, Arkansas State has seven, West Virginia with one, and Kansas State with two. 

Boise State has already closed their campus facilities, including the athletics, due to the increase of community-based virus cases. Across the campus, the school already has 8 cases and so they decided to close the campus until further notice.

Meanwhile, at least 30 athletes at the LSU are placed in quarantine to limit the spread of the virus. Clemson also confirmed an additional 21 members of the Tigers’ football team also tested positive for the virus. This brings them to a total of 23 confirmed cases within the team. 

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