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Colleges Take Financial Hit with Postponement of Fall Sports

Oregon Athletics

With the Pac-12’s decision to postpone all fall sports until at least Jan. 1, local colleges are facing a significant financial loss.

Both University of Oregon and Oregon State University officials say the absence of fall sports could mean tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue for their schools.

“We’re probably somewhere in the $50 million to $80 million range of impact depending on what we’re able to do in the spring,” said UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens.

OSU Athletic Director Scott Barnes said even with a short season, the economic impacts are many. “The fewer games we play the fewer television opportunities we have all stack up and mount to the ultimate issue. It’s significant,” said Barnes.

The Pac-12 has organized a loan program where schools can borrow up to $83 million to cover the losses, but neither UO nor OSU are exploring that option quite yet.

In addition to the money colleges make on sports, local businesses take in millions of dollars from fans traveling to Corvallis and Eugene each fall. The full scope of those losses remains to be seen.

While the fiscal implications of not playing fall sports, including football, volleyball, soccer, and cross-country are weighing on the conference schools, OSU's Barnes noted that “we’re confident in the information we have and the decision we’ve made, focused on the health and welfare of our student athletes. That is our primary focus.”

The Ducks’ Mullens shared similar sentiments. “As we said from the beginning, we were going to be guided by our Pac-12 Medical Advisory Group. We’ve stuck to that. And the information they provided allowed us to say that we need to hit pause, and postpone and take another look about what we can do after January 1,” said Mullens. “Health and safety will remain at the forefront of all those conversations.”

Copyright 2020, KLCC

Love Cross joined KLCC in 2017. She began her public radio career as a graduate student, serving as Morning Edition Host for Boise State Public Radio in the late 1990s. She earned her undergraduate degree in Rhetoric and Communication from University of California at Davis, and her Master’s Degree from Boise State University. In addition to her work in public radio, Love teaches college-level courses in Communication and Sociology.