Michigan college sports teams prepping for a possible return without fans amid COVID-19

Posted at 4:50 PM, Jun 25, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXYZ) — While most professional yet to resume, most college sports are beginning to prepare for their fall seasons.

Divison 1 is big business, thanks in part to the television deals they have in place, but for thousands of smaller college athletes, how much the coronavirus pandemic is changing things depends on each school.

Chase Post is a 2020 graduate from West Michigan, and had his final season of Lacrosse canceled.

"I was working really hard wanting to do the best I could for my senior year and go all out and then the next thing you know it’s gone," he said. "It was rough, I was heartbroken, I was so upset."

After what was essentially a canceled spring sports season for much of the country, the planning is well underway to make college sports happen this fall.

Neither Hope College nor Grand Valley State University are cutting any sports, and the NCAA is trying to help. At the division 2 level, they're reducing the maximum and minimum number of games for each school while still allowing teams to qualify for the postseason.

At division 3, the NCAA also adjusted the minimum games allowed.

But how many fans, if any, will be allowed to watch those games is another issue.

For some programs, it would be a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in just one sport ticket sales.

Grand Valley has budgeted with 50% lower ticket revenue and they would still be fine, but limiting fans would affect a second bucket of money tied to marketing and advertising revenues.

At Hope College, it's mostly just making sure the seasons happen with or without fans.

Kari Becker told us in recruiting, it depends on the sport. Many of Grand Valley's women's sports do their recruiting far earlier, so they had their 2020 class in the books well in advance, as well as some of their 2021 and 2022 classes.

Baseball on the other hand is late, as players often wait to make their commitment. Not only did they miss their spring season, but a lot of summer baseball seasons are being compromised.

If a school hasn't cut your favorite sport yet, chances are they've made it through the biggest hurdle, and there could be reason for optimism.

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