Wicker prepares last stadium push while charting coronavirus path
When J.D. Wicker took the athletic director job at San Diego State in 2016, he had his sights on a big goal – turn the Mission Valley stadium site into a 21st century vision. At the time, it was a partnered goal with MLS, but thanks to the work of SDSU West, it’s all red and black zoned ground.
In the two years since Measure G, San Diego State’s fought plenty of battles. An impending City Council meeting May 19th. The city attorney’s reluctance to clear the runway. And now, on top of that, an economic shutdown that’s cost the university 42 million dollars – and hundreds of millions to San Diego’s budget.
Even in all the dark, Wicker remains optimistic.
“It’s definitely a challenging time,” Wicker said. “This is a short term issue that we’re dealing with. As we look at Mission Valley…this is a long term play. Getting started also helps us take advantage of the climate from a construction standpoint.”
What needs real construction now is the athletics picture. After canceling spring sports in 2020, there’s no consensus for what fall – or 2021 look like.
The issues are numerous. Only one’s commonly agreed upon – if a college isn’t holding on campus classes, they won’t have on campus sports. But that doesn’t cover attendance and the money that comes from it, especially in a year where moneymakers like March Madness didn’t take place. Add in student dues that may be cut down to keep enrollment costs justified, and SDSU, and the Mountain West have lots to decide.
The Group of Five conferences, which include the Mountain West, wrote a letter to the NCAA front office earlier this year asking for “temporary relief from several regulatory requirements for a period of up to four years.” That could include postseason changes or eligibility requirements. At worst? Cutting certain programs while still staying Title IX eligible to accommodate both men and women’s sports.
“Cutting sports is always the last thing you want to do,” Wicker said. “We’re going through each one of our sports budgets looking to how we can cut it down…such as not hosting championships and taking the regular season champion.
“We’ll go through that exercise and see how much money we can save.”