Some Schools Have A Different Strategy For Fixing COVID-19 Financial Woes

The coronavirus pandemic has left us with a changed world — and some are wondering if we’ll ever get back to normal even after the population is immunized and the threat of COVID-19 dies down. With over half a million people dead in the United States alone, it’s a fair question. One of the consequences for schools around the country were deep budget cuts, many of which were applied to sports programs.

After all, isn’t entertainment frivolous spending?

New Jersey Fairleigh Dickinson University officials don’t believe it is. Instead of cutting sports programs, the school’s board has decided to add new ones across the board. There will be a new men’s volleyball team and a women’s lacrosse team. Both of these programs require new leadership positions to be filled. 

The reason is simple: the cancellation of school sports programs resulted in millions of dollars of revenue loss. People pay to watch entertainment, and those dollars are invested into education.

FDU Director of Athletics Brad Hurlbut said, “We were looking at our financials, and like it was for everybody, it was bleak. We needed to come up with a plan to ease those fears that the university had and we had as an athletic department.”

But filled stadiums aren’t the only source of revenue generated by college sports programs. Without those programs, many students won’t have any interest in attending at all — and certainly the scholarship dollars they might bring with them won’t be acquired by the college.

Athletic Director Jason Young paired with an economist to determine the overall benefit of the news sports teams. 

Young said, “I presented back in June to the leadership group of the university. That got some different looks, but it allowed us to peel back the curtain of the financial structure of our athletic department and really start diving in. That was the opening crack for us.”