It is no secret that college football reigns supreme in the college athletics landscape and that it is the champion money maker for the NCAA and its schools. According to a new study done by Washington University and ESPN, if the 2020 College Football season is canceled, schools could lose a significant amount of money. 

According to the study, it was discovered that schools in the Power Five conferences, the SEC, BIG 10, BIG 12, ACC and PAC 12, could lose $4 billion if there is no season in 2020. 

TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati said that if the college football season is canceled, there will most likely be significant changes to athletic departments across the country. “If there’s no football season, or if football season is interrupted or shortened, there will be a massive fallout,” he said. “There would have to be massive cutbacks. Could the department go on? Sure. It would probably look smaller. There would potentially be fewer sports and much less programming.”

A lot of athletic programs at schools rely heavily on the income that football generates. Oregon State is no exception as athletic director Scott Barnes said. “Anywhere from 75 up to almost 85% of all revenues to our departments are derived directly or indirectly from football,” Barnes said. “Indirectly, I mean sponsorship dollars, multimedia rights, and then you’ve got your gate, your donations and whatnot. The impact of not playing a season is devastating. It would rock the foundation of intercollegiate athletics the way we know it. Frankly, I’m not trying to solve for that because it would be such a devastating circumstance that we’d almost have to get a whiteboard out and start over.”

If the college football season is canceled, the schools won’t be the only ones greatly impacted as the television networks rely heavily on the ratings they receive from fans watching college football games. ESPN specifically pays an immense amount of money to air college football games given its SEC, ACC, BIG 12 and Longhorn networks that air a plethora of college football games each season.

The coronavirus pandemic has already forced many changes across the NCAA landscape. The Mid-American Conference has canceled the conference tournaments for nine of its sports while making changes to eight others.

The NCAA has begun to take steps toward possibly having a college football season in 2020, as during the month of June, schools will be allowed to host voluntary workouts on their respective campuses. 

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