Photo: Tennessee State Athletics

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to place sports at a standstill, college athletic administrators are considering all options with the hope of having a football season.

According to a report in The Athletic, one of those options involves playing a truncated season by eliminating nonconference games and only playing games against conference opponents.

For Tennessee State, that move would cancel the program’s first three games of the season. The first two games, however, feature marquee matchups against Southern in the Detroit Football Classic and Jackson State in the annual Southern Heritage Classic. Nixing those two games would result in the Tigers losing out on a combined $750,000 in revenue.

“Those games, they’re huge to us,” said TSU athletic director Teresa Phillips in the report. “You think about $750,000 worth of stuff you can buy, whether it’s tuition, room, board, meals, baseballs, softballs, footballs, cleats. You don’t have those games, that money is going to have to come out of something else.”

Phillips, who announced back in October she’s retiring in June, didn’t rule out the possibility of staff reductions, pay reductions, or even furloughs.

“Everything may be on the table, to be honest,” Phillips said. “I’m not saying any of those things will happen, but you’ve got to consider everything.”

And as to the possibility of not having football in the fall at all?

“Nobody wants to think about no football. But we’ve got to throw out every model, just in case,” she stated. “No one knows when this will plateau. We can’t just think we’re gonna wake up from a bad dream. It’s a real thing and leadership has to stand up. We have to swallow hard. We have to make changes we aren’t comfortable with. And hopefully, we’ll come out of it.”



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