Iowa State AD explains importance of finding solution to safely play football in 2020
The outlook of the college football season appears bleaker and bleaker as the days go on. With some lower-level conferences already postponing fall sports until spring and the B1G eliminating its nonconference schedule, it almost seems inevitable that this season will at least face seriously delays and alterations.
Many have tabbed that the reason for still having a season at this point is a pure money grab from the NCAA, Power Five and individual athletic department perspective. If not for the billions of dollars generated yearly from football, this season may have already been scrapped.
But Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard wanted to bring to light some other concerns that schools and athletic departments are facing right now. In a detailed letter addressed to Cyclone Nation, Pollard explains why playing football, if at all possible, is critical.
From Pollard’s letter:
There has been significant conversation about the prospects for a 2020 college sports season and the impact such a decision would have on the future of intercollegiate athletics.
I feel it is imperative and timely to clarify the reasons why we are doing everything in our power to try and safely play college sports this fall.
Some people have incorrectly framed the issue as safety versus revenue generation. The simple fact is that reality lies somewhere in the middle. As leaders, we remain committed to safety first. As I outlined in my letter on June 25, 2020, we are working hard to develop and implement mitigation strategies to reduce the risk to players and fans at events this fall. More details about these plans will be provided in the near future.
We must also be cognizant of the absolute need to generate revenues to sustain our long-term operations. We felt it was important to be transparent about the financial realities in college athletics today to add some context to the discussion. Although I am most-familiar with our financial situation, many peers have shared similar stories in regards to their financial projections.
The financial impact we are facing stretches beyond our department and its employees. The ramifications would also be devastating for the state, university and local community. Many residents and area businesses rely upon our events for their economic survival.
In addition, the financial disruption caused by not having a football season would have an overwhelming negative impact on the safety and well-being of the 475 student-athletes we support. The revenue generated by the department is necessary to provide the academic, medical, nutritional and athletic support that is relied upon by our student-athletes.
This is why we are so committed to trying to find a solution to safely play college sports. We understand there are serious health considerations that are implicated by moving forward with sports. However, we are confident that our department can provide a safer environment for the athletes in Ames, where they are motivated by their teammates and competition to modify their social behavior. We also feel confident that our mitigation efforts can reduce the risk for fans at Jack Trice Stadium. We will be transparent about these efforts so fans can evaluate and choose for themselves whether they are comfortable attending games or not.
There are many concerns to evaluate as college football officials work to find a solution during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the answer on the surface might appear to be easy, there is simply no simple response at this time.
You can read Pollard’s full release here.