Northwest Florida A.D. talks about state of juco athletics

Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 6:35 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -These are certainly strange times for area Juco Athletic Directors. With no games on the immediate horizon, they remain rather busy nonetheless.

Take for instance Northwest Florida A.D. Ramsey Ross, who we spoke to recently about the state of Juco athletics.

Our conversation began with me asking what topics are dominating his time these days, as we look forward to the students coming back to campus in the coming days?

"We're actually planning on staggering the arrivals of our student athletes," Ross replied "both from a Covid standpoint, to make sure we can get proper testing. And also to make sure our student Athletes don't get burned out. And so we're trying to juggle all those parts as we are right up against the start of the fall semester on August 19. So that's been kind of dominating our discussions.

As you may know, the NJCAA moved all fall sports to after the first of the year, that includes basketball. So that too is occupying the attention of Ross and other A.D.s around the region and the state.

"We are looking at what the schedule is gonna look like, we are having a lot of meetings, the athletic directors have been talking from a conference perspective." Ross said. "We are trying to evaluate what our conference schedule is going to look like, do we need to expand it? The NJCAA Has limited our schedule to 22 games in basketball. Typically it's a 30 game schedule. So how do we play a condensed 22 game schedule in just a two month time frame?"

And with 8 fewer basketball games, at least four of them home games, well that means less money coming in, assuming fans can be a part of the games this winter. And that's on top of already serious concerns about athletic budgets in this age of COVID-19.

"Well there will be some lost revenue in terms of hosting home games." Ross told me. "But in the bigger picture in higher education obviously, athletics is something that is a concern, from a budgetary standpoint. We are looking at alternative ways to create revenue. We don't know if we're actually going to have fans and what that's going to look like. So we're really trying to evaluate what the bottom line is going to look like. It is a concern, but it's some thing that we are looking forward to the challenge."

The first games of any sort for juco athletics in the state will be no earlier than January 22nd.

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