Big bu$ine$$ of NCAA football may influence decisions to play amid pandemic

Pittsburgh Duke Football
Posted at 4:25 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 17:01:53-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Like a group of fundamentally-sound offensive linemen, college athletic directors and conference commissioners are standing their ground, holding firm - in hopes of playing a college football season this fall.

"There's been great incentive to bring football back in the middle of this pandemic," explains Karen Weaver, Ed.D, an Associate Clinical Professor at Drexel University's Center of Sports Management.

Financial incentive. According to, a scrapped season would cost college football programs more than $4 billion in revenue.

When questioned about the drastic decision to not play a football season, Florida State University Athletics Director David Coburn was quoted in the Tallahassee Democrat saying, "God help us if that is the scenario."

Dr. Weaver, a former collegiate head coach and athletic director, is a leading authority on college sports media and finance.

"College football generates excitement," Weaver told News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler via Zoom. "And quite frankly, as we all know, it generates on some campus - a lot of revenue. But you have to look at the role that bringing athletes from all over the country into your environment, and ensuring to the player and their family that they're going to be safe, somehow, in the middle of all this. I think that's a difficult thing to sell right now."News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler

At Old Dominion University, 317 student-athletes and staff members have been tested for COVID-19. Only seven were positive. However, other numbers are not as encouraging at ODU.

Athletic Director Dr. Wood Selig tells Harry Minium of his department, boasting a $42 million budget, is facing a seven to eight million dollar loss in revenue - and that's if football is played.

"That's one-sixth of ODU's budget," Weaver pointed out. "That's a substantial hit in anyone's budget. Even cutting five percent could be tough."

The reason many in major college football circles are holding out hope for a season amid a pandemic might be tough for some to comprehend. But if you understand the big bu$ine$$ of college football, it should make sense - and a whole bunch of dollars.