Clarksville, TN – While athletic departments like the Austin Peay State University (APSU) continue to wait and see on what will happen next as far as seeing a light at the end of the tunnel with this coronavirus (COVID-19) virus and all of its delays and shutdowns, some of the present and future day problems it has caused are starting to come to light, with plenty of questions left to be answered.
While there are many problems that need to be addressed before things can even look like there anywhere near back to a normal look, here are some of the biggest that the NCAA and Austin Peay State University face … eligibility relief for athletes, recruiting, scholarships, roster limits moving forward and money.
The eligibility relief and whatever that will involve, will be handled by the NCAA, but for what sports? Spring sports only or will the winter sports that didn’t get to have their championship tournament also get relief for their athletes?
Will the relief just be for seniors or will all athletes get a year back? And if it is all athletes that could affect schools and their teams for two or three years.
Depending on the number of seniors on a team this season and the number of incoming players already recruited for next year, teams could/will in most cases, go over their scholarship limit and even go over currently mandated roster limits.
Could this mean, even if it’s just for a couple of years, a return of junior-varsity teams?
Will the NCAA give some relief for those situations and if so for how long? Who going to pay for it? Is the NCAA going to help schools with that?
As for recruiting in general, although a lot of teams have signed several players for this upcoming school year, most still have sports to fill and with the shutdown by the NCAA, they have put a ban on current in-person recruiting for coaches, as well as suspending any official or unofficial visits to college campus until at least April 15, which could be extended if the COVID-19 virus situation isn’t any better by then.
The NCAA has also suspended all National Letter of Intent (NLI) signings and school’s financial aid agreements to prospective student-athletes through the same April 15th date.
Programs can still write and call prospective student-athletes though during this period.
And as far as the money question goes, what will happen with the NCAA’s revenue distribution that all the schools get every year? Will the schools get this money this year, will it be limited, or cut back, will the distribution to the schools be delayed from its normal scheduled dates of April 15th to June 10th?
As for possible money shortfalls, Power 5 Conferences are in better shape to absorb a problem like this a little better with most, if not all, having conference TV contracts that bring in huge amounts of money to those schools.
But it’s the mid-major schools and conferences, including schools like APSU and conference’s like the Ohio Valley Conference that will have a much, much harder time if this happens.
In hard numbers, depending on the school and department’s total operating revenue, you’re looking at around $400-500 thousand to as much as $1.5 million, or so, per school.
Bottom line, this global coronavirus pandemic has caused problems that have never been faced before by the NCAA or its universities and while a few of the problems faced can be quick-fixed many, many more will take much longer to figure out as they try to more forward to what can hopefully be a new normal at some point.