Florida State AD wary of budget woes: ‘God help us’ if football season is lost

Florida State athletic director David Coburn hinted at the potential severity of his program’s financial situation if the 2020 football season is lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are planning to develop several different budget scenarios for next year. I don’t think any of them will be pretty,” Coburn said Friday while addressing the FSU board of trustees, according to Curt Weiler of the Tallahassee Democrat.

“One of them will be a scenario without football and I would just say, ‘God help us’ if that is the scenario.”

Much of the spring college sports schedule, including the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, has already been canceled amid the health crisis. Coburn estimated every ACC school has lost between $2.2 million and $2.5 million in revenue without the NCAA and conference tournaments.

Coburn didn’t predict losses in the event of a canceled football campaign, but he did touch on the conference’s plan for navigating an uncertain economic future.

“There are current cost-saving analyses underway both here and at the ACC level,” Coburn said. “The ACC has set up a working group to explore possible conference-wide initiatives for departments and entire sports to potentially save money across the board for all teams.

“These would include things such as travel, scheduling guidelines, practices. There are also potential across-the-board NCAA cost-saving changes coming and I don’t know what those would look like, but we’re anticipating those.”

Unlike professional sports leagues, college football programs likely won’t have the option to play games without fans present; commissioners of the nation’s major football conferences stressed during a Wednesday conference call with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence that college sports can’t return until campuses are cleared to reopen.