All industries and occupations have been hit hard as a result of COVID-19. While some industries have started to open up according to the New York state and city guidelines, others are still in conflict about how to move forward, one of them being college football.
College football is a massive financial industry in the world of sports. Different conferences have all been looking for solutions and a way forward. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has established a COVID-19 Concern Hotline where they can be contacted by athletes or parents who are concerned about their college’s return to sports. They can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or called at 833-661-CV19 (2819). They also emphasize that should a college choose to resume sports, mask-wearing, social distancing and daily health checks must be a priority. Two conferences, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 had canceled all Fall sports amid the pandemic. Recently, the Big Ten has said that they will resume college sports. However, there will be mandatory testing and players will only play against other colleges within the conference.
Many are making the claim that COVID-19 will change the nature of college sports forever. One major change is that college athletes have much more power than they did in the past. In light of their concerns surrounding sports and COVID-19, players recently started a movement called #WeWantToPlay where they continue to demand that athletes, especially football players, gain the right to financial compensation and the creation of a college football players association. These demands are fair and reasonable since college sports are a multi-billion dollar industry where everyone makes a profit except for the players themselves who do the actual labor.
The other major change is that sports that aren’t deemed to be as profitable as college football is at risk of being eliminated or having their budgets slashed severely. Stanford University in California, for example, is planning to eliminate many sports programs after the 2020-2021 school year including but not limited to women’s sailing, synchronized swimming, field hockey and many more. As usual, women’s sports will be severely affected by all universities. Because of Title IX, they can’t be eliminated but they will have really small budgets and huge staff cuts. This is due to the fact that women’s sports have less funding than men’s sports. Additionally, most of these sports are kept financially afloat by the revenue earned from college football. So, if college football remains canceled by other colleges, other sports lose a lot of funding and support.
It’s also worth noting that smaller colleges also have sports. The pandemic has turned their world upside down forever. One example is that at Augustana College, a possible Spring football season will only have five games and basketball will consist of only 13 contests. The elephant in the room is that many colleges large and small deciding to open their campuses to in-person classes meant that COVID-19 cases began to spike, leading to shutting themselves back down. This means that college sports are likely to remain in a state of limbo for the foreseeable future.