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Athletic departments are going to try to play college football no matter what

It’s all about the benjamins, baby

Wake Forest v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Last week Kirk Herbstreit drew the ire of college football fans when he shared that he thought it unlikely we’d see NCAA Football next Fall.

Since then we’ve heard rumors of a summer season or even pushing the season to the Spring 2021 semester. Only one of those options would work for the currently without a stadium Syracuse Orange but no one knows what’s going to happen. Despite the uncertainty there are signs that athletic directors are going to do whatever it takes to play games.

After the NCAA announced that distribution payments were going to be dramatically reduced, a bit of panic ensued. That panic was compounded when the NCAA decided to grant an extra year of eligibility to athletes from spring sports. You immediately saw a number of “How will we pay for this?” comments. UCF Knights AD Danny White wants to give an extra year to winter sports but at the same time is talking about getting federal and/or state bailouts. (Good luck with that). Although it would be wise of these administrators to read economist Andy Schwarz’s look at how schools can look at this as a revenue generating opportunity we can’t count on them taking that approach.

You knew things weren’t good financially when NCAA officials agreed to a pay reduction and the Iowa State Cyclones became the first P5 school to announce a similar plan.

We know the revenue generated by college football is significant and schools don’t want to face the cuts that would follow losing it so they are going to try and make something work. It’s not just ticket sales and television contracts but the donations which flow when the school is riding the momentum of a great season or looking to buyout a floundering coach. ADs will threaten to cut sports but the reality is that cuts are more likely to come from the pockets of administrators.

Is it feasible to play college football from January to May? No one knows but athletic directors across the country are willing to wait to find out... and if it happens then Syracuse Orange fans will really be thankful for home games under The Dome.