TU, college sports in general taking big financial hit because of coronavirus

WATCH - TU, college sports in general taking big financial hit because of coronavirus

Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars gone for schools across the country.

"Devastating to catastrophic are probably the right words."

That's what TU director of athletics Dr. Derrick Gragg said in a virtual news conference Wednesday, giving his take on what the economic impact of a lost college football season would be. The coronavirus pandemic already has athletic department budgets across the country in a bind.

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Dr. Gragg said 80 to 90 percent of the NCAA's revenue for the entire year comes from the men's basketball tournament, and the NCAA is going to lose about 70 percent of that money because of the cancellation.

The canceled spring sports championships will cost the NCAA another $130 to 135 million, but spring sports are not money makers for Tulsa. TU will actually save more than half a million dollars by not playing them, off-setting some of their lost revenue.

TU though doesn't know the exact impact all this will have on its budget. They're still waiting for the numbers from the conference.

“We’re just in pre-planning stages right now until we actually get the numbers, but I wouldn’t deem it a crisis,” Gragg said.

Not yet, but much more lost revenue could be coming if the college football season is affected.

"I think there's a lot of discussion around that because again you want to get back to safety, wellness,” Gragg said. “Do you play the games? Do you play the games without fans? How are the fans going to respond if this thing does lift? Are they going to be afraid to come out in crowded situations like football games are?"

If they do play the college football games without fans in the stands, Dr. Gragg believes that would still fulfill their TV contracts -- hopefully avoiding losing another big source of income.