On Friday, Allen Greene was live via teleconference to give the latest updates surrounding Auburn athletics during the coronavirus pandemic. The Auburn Plainsman has put together some of his answers to the questions that we felt like readers would be interested in hearing about.
Some of the topics that Greene discussed were the health of the student-athletes, the financial impact of this virus and how returning the year of eligibility might play out.
Q: Have you been able to track the health of your student-athletes and has anyone been directly affected by the Coronavirus?
A: “None of our student-athletes have been directly affected or had the Coronavirus or even been tested or shown symptoms to my knowledge. The way I’m keeping up with our student-athletes and their health is through our medical professionals and through our coaches. We have conversations with our coaches almost on a daily basis about a wide variety of things.”
Q: What would be the financial impact if there is no football season?
A: “I’ll kind of refer to Commissioner Sankey’s comments, he’s mentioned about being optimistic about playing the upcoming football season and all sports. Getting back to some sort of normalcy, I do think that we have to have some conversations about what the world would look like if there wasn’t a football season even though we are planning on playing one.”
“I would say if there wasn’t a football season that would be a sizeable financial impact, to what degree uncertain but there would definitely be a sizeable impact on our finances if we were not to have a football season.”
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Q: Are you in favor of returning the year of eligibility to all classes or just seniors and how much of your answer is based on the financial side of things?
“I think that’s a topic that many of us in leadership roles and our coaches have been having that discussion. It’s really hard to identify where we’re going to go. I think there’s arguments that when someone’s season has not been completed, there ought to be some consideration for additional eligibility. Whether that’s seniors or freshman through seniors I think is still TBD, it’s one of those circumstances where you want to do what’s in the best interest of the athletes.”
“Understanding that we still don’t have financial clarity, you want to try and make that decision without thinking about finances. But you also have to recognize that there is some financial impact and I think what’s going to drive the decision making from an NCAA perspective and a campus perspective is really trying to do what’s in the best interest of the young people.”
Q: How is not having spring sports and the NCAA Tournament going to affect Auburn’s bottom line?
A: “Something that we have been discussing just in terms of broader picture, we do not have a concrete answer on the budget impact. I think we all know and are preparing for some sort of a budget impact but there’s still a lot to unfold, obviously a lot has unfolded and there’s still more to unfold.”
Q: How are scholarships being handled right now for current Auburn athletes and potential signees?
A: “So, the NCAA has put a moratorium on National Signing, so we’re not signing any new athletes. Right now, our focus is on the student-athletes that are currently on campus and we are still operating normally in terms of our financial support for them as if they were still on campus or as if they were in class in Auburn.”
Q: How are the coaches handling working remotely and are you going to have to provide them with additional resources?
A: “Our coaches I think work remotely regardless, they’re constantly recruiting, they’re constantly traveling. So that is not an issue for us, they have the resources that they need to conduct business in a “new normal world” if you will. The biggest challenge I think from their perspective would be just ensuring that the student-athletes are attacking their academic pursuits with the same vigor as they would on campus. Young people have idle minds and we want to keep them engaged to the best of our ability.”
Q: What are you doing with the upkeep of facilities at this time, since things like fields cannot just be left alone?
A: “Our facility staff continues to be engaged and maintaining our faculties. So much of our attention gets paid to student-athletes and coaches sometimes we forget that they are people behind the scenes who have to take care of the facilities or manage the business aspect of it. There are select people who are managing our facilities, our fields and keeping them manageable and simply just waiting for us to be able to return.”
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