Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman touched on a number of issues related to COVID-19 in a recent radio interview on WVFN-AM (730 in Lansing), saying the long-term impact of the crisis could force some schools to cut sports.
"With the NCAA tournament canceled, with the Big Ten tournament largely canceled, there’s going to be a very interesting economic impact," Beekman said, according to Detroit Free Press. "And some schools are simply significantly wealthier than others. And so I think there is some variability in the anxiety over how we’re going to grapple with the finances of this as they roll out and how prepared we are to deal with that. I think it’s a concern that everybody has, but certainly it impacts some of us more than others.”
Beekman said that all schools will have some tough choices ahead.
"I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see some of those things happen," he said. "Obviously, we cut sports as a last resort. But I think conversations about not filling open positions as they come, to be on the safe side whenever possible, those kind of conversations are ongoing.”
As the Big Ten and the NCAA deal with the crisis, the new way of doing business requires some creativity, Beekman said.
"I think we’re still in that stage of people thinking very creatively about how to make sure that students have opportunities, that people are treated in a safe and reasonable way, and there’s a lot of creativity in the system between individual schools, the conferences and the NCAA," Beekman said. "I feel like the last couple of days, I’ve been in and out of the office, but almost all day spent on conference calls with various groups, both in the Big Ten and NCAA level. And I really wouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point. I think we’re sort of in a never-say-never environment, and it’s just a little bit hard to tell how it’s gonna shake out.”
As for whether students and staff should be tested for the virus, Beekman stressed that all students and staff just need to go home.
"Get with your family, stay away from folks, keep yourself separated — the social distancing as it’s called," Beekman said. "I don’t think, from my perspective, the need to universally test folks. I think if folks have the symptoms, they need to consult with their physician and have the experts treat them accordingly.”