[CBS] - Basketball, the Ivy League's real money-maker, is its only profitable athletic venture. The basketball season is unlikely to start on time, which could eliminate most -- if not all -- of its nonconference games. Ivy League programs bring in anywhere between $400,000-$500,000 annually in guarantees from nonconference games, money that may be gone for the 2020-21 season.
"If things don't get better, we're not even going to pay basketball," the source said. "[Decision makers are] holding out hope we can play basketball."
We all know the news about the Ivy League pushing all sports back to 2021. I want to focus real quick on the basketball side of things because that's what the Ivy is known for and that's the sport that brings in money for the rest of the athletic department. Look at that number again - each school gets $400,000-500,000 annually just for playing nonconference games. Right off the bat, if they don't have anything close to that or they refuse to use endowment money, whatever funds they have, you're going to lose sports. We've seen it happen across the country and it's likely coming for Ivy League.
From strictly a hoops point of view - I have no idea what the fuck this is going to look like for the season. Not that the Ivy League ever gets 2-bids into the NCAA Tournament (or rarely even in that conversation I should say) you're immediately ruling that out by not having a nonconference. Working under the assumption that they only play a conference schedule starting January 1, that just eliminates both money and potential big wins. At the same time it's now games off of other schools schedules and we're already starting to see people scramble.
Expect to see a lot of this. A lot of assistant coaches/basketball ops guys hopping on Twitter and putting out messages like this to start the conversation. But really this is what this season should be. Play a ton of local nonconference games. Eliminate cross country travel as much as possible and schedule teams around your area more, especially for mid-majors. Obviously they need to play the high majors for the buy money, but gets more Iona vs Harvard or Iona vs Cornell games.
I know the Ivy League isn't the most important one out there, but it's an indicator for how conferences are looking at sports right now. They were the first ones to cancel their conference tournament and ended up looking smart there.