LAWRENCE, Kan. — Question marks surround the upcoming fall sports season at the University of Kansas. Business owners in Lawrence say they’ll also feel the impact if the Jayhawks don’t play.
Massachusetts Street in Lawrence is packed on game days. But that may not be the case this year.
“It’s going to be weird for sure. It’s going to be out of character, just like COVID in general,” KU student Megan Nation said.
The Big Ten and Pac 12 athletic conferences are expected to cancel the 2020 football season, but the Big 12 Conference hasn’t made a decision yet.
“I get it. We’re all trying to figure this out, but there’s definitely an impact to us and all the small businesses,” Restaurant, Pub & Games co-owner Matt Pool said.
According to KU’s 2019 financial report, the football team made over $2.7 million in ticket revenue. Many businesses in Lawrence, like RPG, depend on fans who drop in before and after games to stay open.
“We’ve been open for less than a year, so there’s never been a moment where there hasn’t been one sort of challenge. This was a big one,” Pool said.
KU students are holding out hope for some positive news, too.
“I think it’s kind of crazy because I think we all thought, we’re going to go into fall semester. We’re going to go back to school. We’re going to have sports back. They may not have fans, but we’ll still have it on TV at least,” KU student Josephine Bowen said.
That may not be the case.
But just because the Big Ten and Pac 12 decide to cancel fall sports doesn’t mean the Big 12 has to do so.