PAC-12 limits college football in coronavirus crisis
11th July 2020

Frequent coronavirus testing brings budget issues to college athletics

Tulane Department of Athletics team physician Dr. Greg Stewart says regularly testing student-athletes will be a ‘relatively significant burden’ on college athletic finances.

The chance for a “normal” college football season fell by the wayside Friday when the PAC-12 said it will limit its 2020 games to conference opponents only due to the coronavirus crisis.

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FREQUENT CORONAVIRUS TESTING BRINGS BUDGET ISSUES TO COLLEGE ATHLETICS

The decision follows the Big Ten’s move Thursday also to only play colleges within its conference to mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19, where the U.S. has 3.24 million active cases.

Athletic teams could be at an elevated risk as many often fly cross-country for games.

According to the Sports Business Journal, The PAC-12 decision was based on of a vote from the league’s CEO Group, made up of university presidents and chancellors. The conference-only schedule model also applies to men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.

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The PAC-12 said in a statement that it will delay mandatory athletic activities on its campuses “until a series of health and safety indicators, which have recently trended in a negative direction, provide sufficient positive data. The CEO Group made clear that it hopes to play football and all other fall sports provided that it can meet the health and safety needs of its student-athletes and obtain appropriate permissions from state and local health authorities. Today’s decision will result in the start dates for the impacted sports being delayed.”

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youth league football practice.close-up of the football and the boys and coaches are in the background out of focus

Earlier this week, Stanford, a member of the PAC-12 said it will cut 11 of its Division I varsity sports programs and fire a number of coaches due to budgetary constraints related to the coronavirus pandemic. Football was not one of the sports targeted in this decision.

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On Thursday the Ivy League canceled all men’s and women’s sports.

Football is a huge revenue generator for Division I colleges. Forbes estimates that 25 of the biggest college football programs generate a combined $2.5 billion per year in revenue. Many schools those funds help maintain non-profit programs like fencing, sailing and squash.

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