You probably heard about this yesterday.
The Ivy League announced Wednesday that it has ruled out playing all sports this fall, becoming the first Division I conference to say it will not hold sports this upcoming semester because of the coronavirus pandemic.
No decision has been made about winter or spring Ivy sports or whether fall sports could be played in the spring of 2021.
“The campus policies make it impractical for competition to occur, at least through the end of the fall semester,” executive director Robin Harris told ESPN. “That’s why today we’re announcing. Eight campuses have announced their policies for the fall over the past two weeks. When we realized and the presidents realized based on these campus policies that we couldn’t have competition, we wanted to make sure the student-athletes were aware of the outcome.
“It’s certainly the right decision for the Ivy League, but it’s difficult.”
The $64,000 question is what sort of impact that decision is likely to have on cancelling play by the rest of college football. In the short term, my guess is zippo. There are those who point to the Ivy League’s decision to shut down basketball play in March as COVID-19 infections ramped up being followed universally shortly thereafter as precedent for college football to follow now. The rebuttal to that can be found in David Ubben’s piece here ($$).
“Follow the money” is a good philosophy for analyzing any decision, and the Ivies’ decision is the latest example. The Ivy League doesn’t offer its players scholarships to play football. Meanwhile, SEC schools averaged more than $1.3 million in recruiting expenditures alone during the 2018 fiscal year.
The eight Ivy League football programs made a combined $30.1 million in revenue last year, with Columbia earning the most at $5 million, according to the Department of Education. Sixteen FBS coaches, including five in the SEC, make at least $5 million in personal salary.
The Big Ten’s 14 members produced a combined $1.026 billion in football-related revenue last year. The SEC’s 14 members produced $993.7 million.
Six of the 14 top revenue-producing college football programs from the 2019 fiscal year are in the SEC, each producing at least $84.8 million, led by Georgia at $123.1 million, making it the sport’s second-biggest earner. Only Texas, at $156.1 million (shoutout to the Longhorn Network, which gave UT $300 million over 20 years beginning in 2011), earned more.
The tl;dr version of Ubben’s article is the fucking quote of the year, as far as I’m concerned.
Truer words were never spoken.