Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said the athletic department stands to lose $40 million in the next six months if sports cannot be played this fall.
In an open letter to the Iowa State community released Monday, Pollard also added that the university itself stands to lose millions as well as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. He said the revenue loss for its educational fund for the 2021 fiscal year is $41 million.
Since the start of the pandemic in the U.S. through Aug. 23, 2020, the revenue losses and costs at the university are estimated to be an additional $73 million.
"Some people have incorrectly framed the issue as safety versus revenue generation. The simple fact is that reality lies somewhere in the middle," Pollard wrote. "As leaders, we remain committed to safety first."
But because the revenue losses would be so significant without sports, he said the push is to play in the fall as safely as possible. "We understand there are serious health considerations that are implicated by moving forward with sports," Pollard writes.
"However, we are confident that our department can provide a safer environment for the athletes in Ames, where they are motivated by their teammates and competition to modify their social behavior. We also feel confident that our mitigation efforts can reduce the risk for fans at Jack Trice Stadium. We will be transparent about these efforts so fans can evaluate and choose for themselves whether they are comfortable attending games or not."
Pollard added they are "laser focused" on developing a plan for the fall sports season that is safe for their teams and fans and can "generate enough financial support to sustain our athletics program."