COVID-19’s Impact on College Sports

The shockwave known as the coronavirus has impacted not only people in our community, but people all over the country, and all over the world. It has uprooted schools, workplaces, the economy, the medical field, and the sports industry. We have seen games get postponed, seasons get cancelled weeks before the first game was even supposed to take place. Even the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed and set to take place in 2021. For many professional athletes, postponement means they do not get to play in front of a 20,000-person filled arena, and must wait until the season resumes for things to calm down and the season to roll back around again.

But for college athletes, especially seniors, you are given a timetable of four (sometimes five) years to be able to play the sport that you love. Because of the coronavirus, NCAA (National College Athletic Association) winter and spring sports were cancelled. They had to cancel the championship tournaments and games for these two seasons. For seniors that were planning to play their last season of college athletics, this is devastating. Officials considered if college athletes will be able to get this season back, or if seniors will be allowed to take a red-shirt year in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Thankfully the NCAA is giving these students the opportunity to fulfill another year of eligibility, despite the fact that it could cost the schools upwards of $900,000. This has only been decided for winter and spring sports at the moment.

Perhaps the impact will be greatest on college football. Each year people are looking forward to the college bowl games, the tailgating, the brackets, and school athletic programs depend on the revenue. College football is the most profitable sport on almost every college campus in the United States. While it seems far away, coaches are worried that because of the postponing of the Olympics, college football will be too big of a risk this fall.

This has many people worried because of the role that football plays in every other sport. For example, the University of Michigan brings in about 100,000 fans for every game bringing their yearly revenue for this one sport to about $125 million dollars. A lot of this revenue and profit is used to help some of the sports that don’t draw in as large a crowd as football. The revenue sharing benefits all sports by providing scholarships, maintaining courts and athletic fields, and paying coaches. Even the loss of a couple games by postponing the season could be detrimental for all athletes and all sports programs.

So, not only are student athletes being mentally affected by the cancellation of their favorite sports, but the schools and the athletic programs are going to suffer tremendously. While sports are very important to a lot of fans around the country, student athletes play a much bigger role than many may realize.