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Lack of sports in “The Valley” impacting more than just student-athletes

Written by on September 2, 2020

Photo courtesy ISU Athletics

NORMAL, Ill.- The COVID-19 pandemic has taken away countless opportunities for athletes in the Missouri Valley Conference, including Illinois State University. All sports for the fall season are cancelled, leaving a condensed spring season as the only hope for sports in the 2020-2021 school year. However, the athletes are not the only ones suffering from the inability to have college athletics.

Redbird Productions gives students at ISU the opportunity to gain professional production experience while on campus. Without games to be played, this program is severely hindered in its ability to give students that valuable experience, as well as a source of income. Director of Redbird Productions Adam Kopp says the lack of work means lack of need for student staff.

“The main aspect of the job that took a hit was obviously the game day production. We no longer are working on weekends and don’t have our student staff working those events,” said Kopp. “I feel bad for them because once they got back to campus they were probably counting on that source of income.”

Kopp also said the athletics department has also been suffering financially as certain staff are no longer needed. “Since there are no sporting events there is no need for any refs or umpires at games. Athletic departments are saving money in a number of places but at the same time there is no income from other areas, tickets, concessions and NCAA shared funds are some of the income sources that aren’t coming into the department anymore.”

While it’s disappointing to not be able to obtain valuable experience during this time, losing a paid job may be just as impactful. ISU senior Abby Panozzo has worked for ISU athletics all three years, is now unemployed.

“I actually don’t have a job. I’m unemployed by the university, I was an audio technician for ISU athletics,” said Panozzo. “Since there are no athletes, I don’t have a job right now. So that’s definitely affected me in a big way.”