It has not been confirmed nor denied, but there’s a possibility that college football will not happen this fall, a devastating prospect for the NCAA, the athletes, the fans and NFL franchises that rely on the season to scout prospective players. While the most regrettable aspect of no college football would be the players missing out on the opportunity to make lifelong memories, there would be a huge financial impact involved as well, especially for the schools and the NCAA.
September might seem like a long way away, but the time is going to creep up quickly for athletes planning to be on the practice field this summer. All fall sports have already lost their spring season. If it is not deemed “safe” to practice come July, the season likely will not be able to start on time.
Many coaches have spoken out on this topic saying they cannot rush athletes back to play once cleared to resume activities. “That is how injuries happen” has been the common theme among coaches. The consensus is that players will need two months to prepare for the full season. A late starting season means fewer games, which means less revenue. It could also be done with no fans, which means far less revenue. Less games and less fans, or no fans at all, is a double whammy that the NCAA cannot afford.
According to a USA Today report, Power Five football alone is a $4.1 billion concern or an average of $78 million per year per school. That makes up more than 60 percent of most athletic budgets, meaning a year without college football could spell disaster for less prominent sports. LSU, one of the few schools to turn a profit on a sport outside of football and men’s basketball, made a profit of $56 million on football in 2016-17 while claiming a net loss of $22 million on all other sports.
To put things simply, the way the whole NCAA financial ecosystem is set up, if college football fails, almost every other sport fails. Some schools may run out of money and be forced to file for bankruptcy. The college landscape, as we know it, may look totally different in a years to come.