The chair of the Sport Management Department offered insights on the immediate loss of revenue felt by schools and if institutions might consider divisional reclassification as a result.
Tony Weaver was one of three sport management educators featured in a SB Nation article, titled “How does canceling the NCAA tournament impact college athletics? We asked some experts,” examining the ramifications of halting the NCAA’s biggest moneymaker – the Division 1 men’s basketball tournament.
The chair of Elon’s Sport Management Department joined Brett Albert of UMass Amherst and Karen Weaver of Drexel University to discuss topics relating to the impact of lost tournament revenue, how athletic departments can overcome financial hardships, and the missed opportunity for teams to become March’s Cinderella darling, and the financial windfall that can come with tournament success on a school and conference level.
In the March 17 article written by Matt Brown, Weaver specifically addressed how basketball-centric conferences will likely be more affected by the cancellation of March Madness. Additionally, he also discussed the possibility that institutions may consider divisional reclassification due to financial difficulties – a scenario he called unlikely.
“Changing your classification level, whether you go up or down, that’s a major, major decision that’ll have an impact on your institution for a generation,” said Weaver in the article. “I know it’s done, but schools usually don’t decide, ‘I’m going DI,’ and then change their mind. So my guess would be is that schools probably wouldn’t make that type of decision unless they feel like over a 10- to 20-year period or longer, obviously, that this just isn’t gonna work.”
However, Weaver did note that if economic forces weaken universities, there’s no question it will impact their athletic departments.
In the days leading up to the NCAA’s decision to cancel the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments – and subsequently all collegiate athletics this spring – Weaver was also interviewed by Front Office Sports.