Ames, Iowa (WHO-TV) – Iowa State University Athletic Director Jamie Pollard says if there is no fall sports season the school could be forced to cut sports programs.
In a lengthy open letter to Cyclone fans posted online Monday morning, Pollard laid out the financial status of the ISU Athletics Department and what could happen if a football season doesn’t happen this fall. Pollard says if all fall sports were to be canceled, the athletics department would be left with “$40 million in unfunded expenses in the next six months.” That is on top of millions in other lost revenue the school is already reporting.
Pollard says the school is weighing its ‘return to play’ plan with the financial realities of the athletics department as well as the health of athletes and staff.
“We understand there are serious health considerations that are implicated by moving forward with sports. However, we are confident that our department can provide a safer environment for the athletes in Ames, where they are motivated by their teammates and competition to modify their social behavior,” Pollard writes. “While we cannot eliminate all of the risk associated with athletic competition, under current conditions we believe that moving forward with fall sports can be accomplished.”
Pollard says just 3 of the 160 players and staff members who’ve been tested in the last month were positive for COVID-19.
If fall sports are not played in Ames, Pollard says that could lead to job cuts and the elimination of some sports programs. “The remedies to having unfunded financial obligations are significant and would require us to explore options that may include operational reductions or eliminations, layoffs, and even elimination of sport programs.”