MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fall camp for Memphis football starts Friday. But, as Athletics Director Laird Veatch has learned, plans for the season can easily change.
“The prospects of the season or how this is going to look,” Veatch said. “I used to say it depends on the day. Now it depends on the hour it seems.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge for first-year head coach Ryan Silverfield is making sure his players understand their role in whether they can play a full season or not.
“Every single day we’re hitting our guys on different situations and really being safe,” Silverfield said. “We’re hitting home every day about the different precautions they need to take.”
Silverfield said the team is taking precautions Like daily COVID checklists, spacing in meetings, and faceguard shields.
There’s another layer to such a unique situation. Just one year on the job, Veatch already faces a big financial challenge.
“We are at a point where frankly the financial impacts of this are becoming very frightening and concerning,” Veatch said. “As we’ve shared, we did quite a bit of cutting we had going into this year just anticipating the challenges that could be ahead.”
Memphis will only allow season ticket holders to attend games, limiting the amount of revenue.
This is why the school has launched the “Keep Memphis Roaring” Campaign. It’s offering season ticket holders the option to donate the value of their tickets and parking to the Tiger scholarship fund.
“If we aren’t able to manage this, if we don’t get the support we need, it’s going to start impacting people and jobs and salaries and programs,” Veatch said. “Could potentially have a longer-term impact.”
When it comes to the 2020 season, Veatch said there are reasons to be doubtful and hopeful.
He said help from the Memphis community will go a long way in providing more hope.
“How we manage and the support that we get is really going to determine what happens for us on the backside of it,” he said. “So, we’re really in a critical time where we need help.”
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