Big 12 Football Schedule Will Have Major Impact on UTEP Budget
Before the end of the month, the Big 12 is expected to announce their plans regarding the 2020 football schedule. Although the Big 10 and Pac-12 have already condensed their regular seasons to only conference matchups, the other three Power 5 conferences are yet to decide on how many games they will play. Brian Davis, who covers Texas Longhorns football and men's basketball for the Austin American Statesman, tweeted a few of the latest rumors that he is hearing, which would have a major impact on UTEP and its athletic department.
Two of the Miners four non-conference games are against Big 12 schools. UTEP kicks off their 2020 season at home against Texas Tech and two weeks later, they are scheduled to play in Austin against Texas. The best case scenario for the Miners would be if the Big 12 decides to play all 12 regular season games. However, if the Big 12 adopts the 9 + 1 schedule and they also reach an agreement with the SEC, the Longhorns would play at LSU on September 12th and their home game against UTEP the next weekend would be canceled. The Miners are supposed to receive $1.4 million to play Texas on the road and canceling that game could have a significant impact on the UTEP athletic budget. Staff cuts and/or a reduction in coaches salaries could all be a factor if the UTEP athletic department loses over a million dollars from the Texas game. The Miners non-conference football games are filled up through 2023, so it would be unlikely for them to schedule extra money games until 2024 at the earliest.
The good news for the Miner Nation is that in either scenario that Davis tweeted, the UTEP home opener against Texas Tech would not be a casualty of an abbreviated Big 12 football schedule. Even in the case of the 9+1 format, the Red Raiders have already lost their other two non-conference games against Alabama State and Arizona. The only other game on their schedule that is not against a Big 12 opponent is UTEP on September 5th. The Red Raiders would not play again until three weeks later on the road against Iowa State before hosting West Virginia October 3rd in their home opener. As for UTEP, they would have an opportunity to fill the Sun Bowl at least 25 to 50-percent capacity for the Texas Tech game. The stadium's $16.25 million dollar modernization project will also give the school increased revenue from home football games, including the Red Raiders.
600 ESPN El Paso's Adrian Broaddus filed an open record act with UTEP to request the athletic department's total football revenue over the last five seasons. The numbers could surprise you.
Those figures include the following: ticket sales, donations, direct and indirect institutional support, in-kind gifts, opponent guarantees, NCAA distributions, conference distributions, program/novelty/parking/concession sales, royalties/licensing/advertisement/sponsorships, sport camp revenue, athletic restricted endowment income, and other operating revenues.
All Group of 5 conferences are waiting for the dominoes to fall in place after the remaining Power 5 leagues announce their plans for the 2020 football season. The Ivy League canceled all of their fall sports and are exploring the possibility of moving them to the spring. Four FCS leagues: Southwestern Athletic Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and the Patriot League have either canceled, postponed, or suspended fall sports and are each looking into the options of playing in the spring.