WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — No football this year could mean a big financial hit for Purdue University, according to athletic department officials — possibly more than $50 million.
“Without the revenues associated with football, you’re talking about half of our budget going away,” said Tim House, senior associate athletics director and assistant vice president for development.
At the same time, the Big Ten Conference announced the cancellation of fall football, Purdue Athletics, along with its sports booster organization, the John Purdue Club, announced a fundraising campaign they call critical to the future of Purdue sports.
"This is the only way we're going to be able to continue other athletics programs into the future without taking in crippling debt,” House said. “And so anything we raise here is really going to dictate how we moved forward as an athletics department."
The campaign is called "More than a Game."
Organizers say it's important to remember that athletics departments aren't just about players and coaches. They also employ hundreds of workers, from trainers to nutritionists to academic advisors.
“All of those roles are funded in large part by the revenues associated with our revenue-generating sports and now all of that is going to fall on this campaign,” House said.
He said it is, without a doubt, a significant challenge but also an opportunity.
“Hopefully we're looking back on this and say we were able to have thousands of conversations with Purdue fans and alumni around the world, they stepped up, they rallied, and because of that, Purdue is competing for championships now — when we could've been crippled," House said.