Iowa State will not be allowing any fans at home football games this season. They originally stated they would allow 25,000 fans but now say that no fans will be allowed in attendance. That means the season opener Sept. 12th vs Louisana-Lafayette will be played to an empty house at Jack Trice. Pollard also issued a letter on Sept. 4th that detailed budegt cuts to try and make the projected athletic dept. deficit of $30 million. The letter from Pollard is below.
Dear Cyclone fans,
Thank you for the many emails, phone calls and text messages during the past week. The decision regarding fans at home football games clearly sparked considerable emotion throughout our community and fan base and I appreciate your candid feedback.
I am writing today to follow-up on that decision. Our staff and I have worked very closely with President Wintersteen and her leadership team throughout the summer as we jointly developed plans for the 2020 fall season. As previously shared, the discussions always focused on trying to find a safe pathway forward while remaining mindful of the significant ramifications of our decisions.
It is easy to have answers in challenging times but very difficult to have solutions. Now that we have an answer (no fans at football), we begin the painful process of identifying financial solutions to reconcile the impact of our decisions.
Last week we shared with the Board of Regents a financial summary that projected a budget deficit of approximately $17.5M. That report assumed we would have fans at football games. As a result of this week’s decision, we are now projecting a $30M deficit. Unfortunately, the athletics department does not have the ability to absorb that level of deficit. Furthermore, any deficit that is temporarily funded by the university will need to be re-paid by the athletics department over time.
Here are several of the recommendations that we will be making to the university leadership team soon to begin addressing our significant financial challenge.
These are difficult times, but it is our reality. We fully recognize these options will spark further emotion in our campus community, fan base and department. That is why we worked so hard to do everything possible in order to have fans at football games. In the end, the decision was that the risks to the community were simply too great to have fans in attendance. We understand and support that decision. However, we now must face the challenges and consequences that stem from that decision.
Thank you for your continued support as we work our way through this significant challenge.
Director of Athletics