Playing the game: Revenue generated by college football funds many additional sports programs

College athletic departments rely on revenue from football to fund other sports programs, and even programs in Power Five conferences are not immune to cuts.

Playing the game: Revenue generated by college football funds many additional sports programs
UVA is 2-0 all-time against Lehigh. (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - It’s a wait-and-see approach for college football this year, to find out if they’ll be playing any games in the fall. 

Not just for the coaches, and the players, and the fans, but for the other sports programs, who rely on the revenue generated from football.

UVA men's lacrosse coach Lars Tiffany says his team has an advantage.

“The position of strength of being in the ACC, being a part of UVA, the strength comes from being from such an experienced, successful, triumphant, athletic department,” says Tiffany. “Compare that to the Ivy League.  Very different emphasis, and very difference budget sizes.”

The Ivy League recently canceled all fall sports due to concerns about the coronavirus, as opposed to budgetary reasons, but there have been cuts in college sports.

At last count, more than forty teams have been dropped from fifteen different schools.

Stanford was the big one, as one of the best all-around programs in the nation cut eleven of its thirty-six varsity sports.

“It’s an interesting predicament,” says Tiffany. “Even though we have a lot of perks and strengths over most of the rest of the country, in this situation, we’re the ones who may have to do more cutting back, because our model is leaning on something that may not be there.”

Continuing to contribute $40-50 million of revenue per year puts a lot of pressure on football to return this fall.

UVA football head coach Bronco Mendenhall says, “My hope is that we can play it, for a boost in spirit, and a sense of community to rally around, and then certainly the financial component, to help the athletic department, and the other sports, and the other coaches, and the student-athletes, have opportunities.”

Tiffany says no matter what happens this fall, it will not be business-as-usual in the future.

“We will persevere, but we’re going to have to be very conscious about spending,” says Tiffany, “and have a critical eye with scheduling.  It’s going to be a different way to move through our business, going forward.”

The Big Ten and Pac-12 will play conference-only schedules in the fall.

The ACC has announced it will make a decision in late-July.

The Patriot League canceled its entire fall season due to the coronavirus on Monday, joining the Ivy League.

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.