College athletics will never be the same!
We are seeing the fallout from the financial devastation of the coronavirus pandemic already and the future doesn’t look bright. Schools are already cancelling sports to offset the financial deficits they are facing. Other schools are furloughing coaches, freezing hiring, cutting scholarships and reducing schedules. Again, all as a way to offset the financial disaster that is coronavirus.
The good news for those of us that are fastpitch softball fans, first and foremost, is that our sport has carved out a very valuable niche in the world of broadcast sports. ESPN loves softball and, so far, they still think they need softball programming to fill their networks during the spring season.
The bad news is that even though our great sport is a very valuable asset the outlook for collegiate athletics overall is very cloudy right now. The cancellation of the DI men’s basketball tournament has already created approximately a $400 million deficit. Schools have started making the difficult decisions that go along with that type of shortfall.
What can softball fans, players and families expect?
Less scholarship money, for sure.
A shorter season with less games, too.
Regional schedules that can be driven.
Less assistant coaches and support staff!
More programs with no scholarships at all (yes, in Division 1)!
Less recruiting money for coaches to travel to large events.
Fewer beautiful new stadiums.
And on and on the sad list goes.
We are all going to have to accept the fact that our game at the collegiate level is never going to be the same. Will it still be great? Yes, it will. But it will be different.