College Football is not just important to college football coaches, players and fans. College football is the lifeline to a lot of university athletic departments and communities across the country.
At Clemson, Clemson Football is everything.
“Obviously, selfishly, Clemson Football is a big part of our university, our community, our fan base, our alumni. It is special. We all enjoy it,” men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell told The Clemson Insider earlier this week.
At this point in time, no one truly knows what the immediate future holds for the 2020 college football season. Most, like Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, are optimistic that our country will get more of a grip on COVID-19 over the next couple of months and we can all go back to our normal lives and activities.
What does that mean for sports in general? No one knows, but what everyone does know is that our country needs football and in small college towns like Clemson, it particularly means college football.
“You guys know as much as any, I am a huge fan of Clemson Football,” Brownell said. “Dabo Swinney, everybody involved with their program. I just love watching those guys compete. They compete at an incredibly high level and it brings a lot of excitement, enthusiasm and joy to our campus.
“As much as anything, it would be nice for that to be able to bring us back to some normalcy and know that as a country we can come together and got past this pandemic.”
From a financial standpoint, the city of Clemson will lose an estimated $10 million dollars from the cancellation of spring sports and graduation, as well as the campus being closed. Those are estimated loses for just the months of March, April and part of May.
Local businesses are already being hit hard and some may never recover. If there is no football in 2020, the city of Clemson and the surrounding areas could stand to lose way more than $10 million.
As for the university, no football means non-revenue sports, such as volleyball, cross country, track and field, women’s soccer, rowing and men’s and women’s tennis, will be hit hard in funding. The trickle down could also affect revenue sports like men’s and women’s basketball, men’s soccer, baseball and softball.
“It obviously helps all the other athletic programs in terms of being able to bring recruits to games and showcase what Clemson is all about. That is another piece to it,” Brownell pointed out.
Also, IPTAY, Clemson’s annual fund-raising engine for athletics will suffer, which in turn will affect scholarships. The majority of IPTAY’s donations provide scholarship money for Clemson’s student athletes, the rest goes into maintaining or for improvements to the athletic department’s facilities.
Last year, Clemson sold more than 59,000 season tickets through its IPTAY donors. It’s easy to see the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic will already have on the athletic department if football goes on as planned from an attendance standpoint.
Without football, who knows how bad the impact can be. Remember, the majority of the ACC’s agreement with ESPN through the ACC Network and other television rights is driven by football.
“Optimistically, we are all hopeful there is a football season for a variety of reasons. The first being, hopefully, our country has gotten through this sooner than we realized and, as soon as possible, get on to some normalcy,” Brownell said.
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