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No fall sports: Heading into unfamiliar territory with University of Minnesota athletics

Brandi Powell
Updated: August 12, 2020 08:09 PM
Created: August 12, 2020 06:20 PM

No football. No volleyball. No sports at all this fall at the University of Minnesota.

But the Big Ten's decision to delay sports through the end of 2020 will have an impact beyond fall sports.

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Lou Nanne, a Gophers hockey legend, said the ripple effects go beyond maroon and gold athletics.

"It's a very important part of a kid's education, of the school, of fundraising, because people do contribute when they love their sports teams," Nanne said. "It helps draw better teachers, more kids, more applications, a lot of the things that are intertwined that people don't really think about."

On exactly how far-reaching the fallout could be, Nanne says it's a conundrum yet to be determined.  

"That's the biggest question we all have to face and that's what concerns me most because as you know football is really the engine that drives athletics," Nanne said.

A spokesperson for the U of M said the university and athletics department are working to understand the full implications of the Big Ten decision. Athletic Director Mark Coyle has said the financial loss could be approximately $75 million.

The Big Ten's decision is one that'll affect more than just the young men who would've been suiting up in their football gear this fall.

Big Ten Conference cancels fall sports, will consider playing them in spring

"It's going to change the lives of many people. And it's going to change the opportunities many people would have had and that is very, very concerning," Nanne said.

The former Gopher and Minnesota Northstar said football is really the engine that drives athletics. 

"And the money that they were going to lose really provides for all of the other non-revenue sports that kids play, so a lot of boys and girls really depend on the university to make money to allow them to get scholarships and perform at the university," Nanne said.

It could especially have an impact on sports that don't bring in a lot of money.

"I don't doubt that some schools somewhere in the country will start cutting non-revenue sports," Nanne said.

No football also means no marching band at the games.

The University of Minnesota's band director Betsy McCann said there are 320 students in band and 25% of them are on scholarship.

McCann said, "It is a big deal, obviously it affects a huge part of what we do as a marching band."

However, because the band is within the college of liberal arts, it won't lose funding.

Meantime, Nanne hopes fundraising stays strong. 

"So now, really we are going to have to hope for boosters and alumni, people that have taken some of that stuff for granted or have not realized what the need really is, know that there is a distinct need now that has to be met."


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