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Coronavirus sparks concern over impact on college football budgets

Some major-college athletics programs are beginning to prepare for the possibility of a delayed start to the football season because of the coronavirus crisis.

Three athletics directors say budget forecasts for the 2020-21 fiscal year are being adjusted to take into account the impact of the still-growing public-health emergency, including the possibility of reduced attendance at games.

Kansas AD Jeff Long said during a video conference with local reporters on Monday that his program is exploring “What would a 10%, what would a 20% cut in our operations look like?” — although he stressed that no decisions have been made. 

Defending national champ LSU and other college football teams are worried their seasons might be delayed by the coronavirus.

Football drives not only television contracts and ticket sales but also the value of schools’ local multi-media/marketing rights deals; shoe-and-apparel agreements and payments that some customers must pay for the right to lease suites or buy prime tickets. Guarantee-game payments, a feature of many early-season matchups, also could be impacted.

There are no indications at this time that the college football season will be disrupted, but athletics departments must plan for potential impact to their budgets.

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