How an AD handles COVID-19

Even without sports to be played, athletic directors around the country are at work. Fall sports remain on the schedule, but there are question marks.

Like professional sports, college sports need to assess if fans can come to games. Travel will be a serious consideration as a game might be played in high-risk areas. Then, there is the most important question: Is it safe enough to play games?

Mississippi State’s A.D, John Cohen, takes all of these into consideration when at work. In an interview with WRUF’s Steve Russell, Cohen said this virus has made everyone more creative, and the country will find to work it all out.

A big step is coordinating with other schools. Cohen mentioned that some areas of the country will be cleared to take the field before others. He said he thinks that teams that can schedule activities safely should do so.

Finding the Right Time to Return

Now, there is the issue of bringing athletes back before all students are able to return to campus. Cohen understands the point made where it may not be fair to call players back when regular students are staying home. However, he adds there are needs the players have that may not be able to be met if they don’t go back. Cohen made a case that players need a different kind of preparation than needed for taking classes.

Cohen also addressed the need to make sure it’s a safe environment for the athletes. Sports can’t be played if it is not safe to even practice.

Coaches and staff around the country are trying to determine what a fair amount of preparation time is. This, in a sense, goes hand-in-hand with safety for making considerations. It might not be safe soon enough to have time to prepare.

Money Talks

Because of COVID-19, there is a very high chance that no fans will be at games for the rest of 2020. Even with TV revenue, schools will be out a lot of money without ticket sales. A lot of schools rely on football revenue for their other sports. Not knowing what the sports budget puts more pressure on Cohen and other athletic directors.

Cohen said that rainy-day money will prevent some drastic measures made by other schools, but no football still means a financial hit:

Cohen said schools will make the best decision when the deadline comes to make it.


About Harrison Smajovits

Harrison is a sports coordinator at ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF. He served as a beat writer for Florida Gators football for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He also contributes to WRUF's Gainesville Sports Center segments and makes appearances on the Clash on Harp on Sports. Harrison has been a content writer for WRUF since January 2019 as well.

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