North Texas Daily

COLUMN: Men’s basketball cannot afford to suffer the same fate as football

COLUMN: Men’s basketball cannot afford to suffer the same fate as football

COLUMN: Men’s basketball cannot afford to suffer the same fate as football
November 22
20:45 2020

The coronavirus pandemic continues to affect college sports teams all across the country. The University of North Texas is just one of many schools that have been impacted by the virus that causes COVID-19. While the football team here in Denton has suffered heavily from COVID-19 outbreaks, the men’s basketball team simply cannot afford to suffer the same fate that football has.

The football team started off the season strong amidst the pandemic, with no reported COVID-19 cases during summer training camp. The team had no issues with the virus — players were following proper health protocols and getting tested on a regular basis. 

This all changed once the games began when three players tested positive for the COVID-19. Since then, Mean Green athletics have not been the same.

The football team was able to continue playing games through the COVID-19 outbreak. However, they’ve had to postpone and cancel numerous games with teams such as Houston, UTEP, Louisiana Tech and Alabama-Birmingham due to the virus.

The Mean Green football team has not played a game since Oct. 17. The lack of games played has most definitely hurt the athletic department, which has lost tons of revenue from the pandemic.

This is a dilemma that the men’s basketball team cannot face this winter. The basketball team here in Denton is on the rise and while the program may not generate as much revenue as football, basketball is most certainly the university’s most prized program at the moment.

The team is coming off their first Conference USA championship and was expected to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament last spring. As a result of no March Madness, the NCAA’s annual payment to conferences was cut by almost two-thirds. Conferences received just $225 million as opposed to the $600 million that they would normally receive.

With the men’s basketball program on the rise, I believe the program has the potential to bring in even more revenue for the athletics department. However, with the coronavirus pandemic looming over the upcoming season, the program could yet again miss out on millions of dollars. 

For a university that is focusing on athletics more than ever, North Texas needs to bring in as much funding as possible to programs such as basketball and football. 

The Mean Green are scheduled to play Arkansas on Nov. 28 and LSU on Dec. 18. These are two big Southeastern Conference games North Texas cannot afford to miss. The media attention the Mean Green could get from playing two Power Five schools could do numbers for the university in terms of revenue.

If these two games were to be canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the team, the university could lose out on even more money in addition to what they have lost from football.

The North Texas men’s basketball team has been a bright spot for North Texas athletics for the last couple years. While football has not been doing so well, the athletics department could turn to basketball to put North Texas athletics on the map. With COVID-19 outbreaks occurring every week in the college sporting world, the Mean Green cannot afford to lose another one of their money-making programs to the pandemic.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Milo Mihaltses

Milo Mihaltses

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