Much like other athletic programs across the country, the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns have been affected by the fallout of COVID-19. From the NCAA College Basketball Tournament to all spring sports being canceled, it’s been a rough last few weeks for all involved and Dr. Bryan Maggard issued a statement on Monday to UL supporters.
Below is the statement from the Cajuns Athletic Director.
Dear Cajun Nation,
I trust this message finds you well while transitioning to new ways of working, communicating, and entertaining self and family! Certainly, our nation has been impacted by COVID-19 in unprecedented ways and I thought it appropriate to provide you with an update on intercollegiate athletics as it relates to our University, the Sun Belt Conference, and the NCAA.
University leadership has done an exemplary job preparing for and transitioning the campus during this time. All classes have moved to remote instruction for the remainder of the semester, and our Athletics Academic Support staff has worked tirelessly to develop remote service delivery systems to help ensure the academic success of our student-athletes. Students residing on campus have been encouraged to move out of the residence halls. Those who need to stay will be allowed and will have access to dining and health services.
Faculty and staff will transition to remote operations by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23, in an effort to help mitigate the spread of the virus and to comply with the Governor’s Stay at Home order.
Department of Athletics staff have been analyzing the immediate and potential long-term financial impacts COVID-19 will have on our department moving forward. Please know we will identify and communicate plans associated with pre-purchased tickets and premium products for Baseball and Softball in the upcoming weeks. Patience and understanding are greatly appreciated as we work closely with University leaders on the execution of our business continuity plans during this time.
Our Digital and Communications teams will continue to push out creative content on our social platforms along with pre-recorded Ragin’ Cajuns contests. Use your computers, tablets or smart phones to visit RaginCajuns.com/classic for your viewing pleasure.
The Sun Belt Conference…
On March 16, the Sun Belt Conference canceled all spring competition and championships, as well as any organized athletics events for the remainder of the academic year. This decision was made as a result of the on-going developments surrounding the coronavirus. It is permissible for coaches to have virtual meetings with student-athletes to review and discuss sport-specific topics, instructional activity, academic updates, and overall well-being.
The Sun Belt’s Athletics Directors are meeting weekly via conference call to monitor and discuss issues such as, but not limited to, student-athlete welfare, extended eligibility, return-to-play safety, potential adjustments to upcoming seasons, and impacts on Conference and NCAA revenues.
All NCAA winter and spring sport championships were officially canceled on March 12.
The Division I Council of the NCAA will convene on Monday, March 30 to review several issues related to granting an additional season of competition to student-athletes. Key issues related to this topic include squad size adjustments and scholarship limits. It is anticipated the additional costs associated with granting an extra season of competition will be the responsibility of each institution, which for UL, could result in an additional expense of $400K – $500K. We look forward to the DI Council’s decision so plans can be solidified with our student-athletes soon.
All recruiting remains in a dead period and spring signing days have been delayed until Wednesday, April 15, as of now.
Whereas the majority of NCAA revenue provided to member institutions comes from the Men’s Basketball Championship, and as a result of its cancellation, we are anticipating and preparing for a major revenue shortfall. On average, Sun Belt member schools may realize a $200K – $300K revenue reduction.
Although we are amidst challenging times, I could not be prouder of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans! I encourage us all to stay positive, do our part to help mitigate the virus, and maintain our strong sense of community, even if at a distance.
Thank you for all you do for Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics, and I look forward to seeing everyone soon!