Ticket sales and media rights for football alone were responsible for 44 percent of the athletics revenue stream in the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years, so any disruption of the season that’s scheduled to begin Sept. 4 would be highly damaging to the department. The approved 2020-2021 budget was for more than $186 million, including more than $46 million in capital projects, the State Journal reported.

Related: U. of Wisconsin Denies Spring Sports Seniors '21 Return

Alvarez also explained the department's decision to not welcome back spring sports seniors for an NCAA-granted year of eligibility in 2021, another departure from the policies of other schools. 

“Given the uncertainty of the situation we all find ourselves in, we didn’t feel we should make a promise to them that we weren’t sure we could keep,” Alvarez said. “We felt it best to advise them to proceed with earning their degree, which is obviously something we place a great deal of emphasis on.”