Eugene, Ore. – The following message was sent out from University of Oregon Athletics Department:
I hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy as our summers draw to a close. Thank you very much for your continued loyal support of the Oregon Ducks, especially during these challenging and unprecedented times.
Yesterday, the PAC-12 Conference announced that the league is postponing all sports competition until the end of the calendar year. We feel for our student-athletes, who have worked so hard to prepare to play this fall. We have worked diligently to find a safe path to return to competition, but the uncertainty surrounding the dynamics and health impacts of COVID-19 have precluded fall seasons from happening. We will follow the guidance from public health experts and collaborate with peer institutions in monitoring this situation, in the hopes that improving conditions will allow us to consider a return to competition for our student-athletes after January 1.
Our top priority will always be the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans, and it will continue to drive all of the decisions of Oregon Athletics and the PAC-12. We have worked closely during the past several months with many entities, including the PAC-12 Medical Advisory Committee, which includes infectious disease and public health experts. This group developed clear and comprehensive health and safety protocols that have been implemented in conjunction with the guidance and approval of campus leadership, Lane County Public Health, and the Oregon Health Authority.
We are proud of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff for their leadership during this time as well as their strong adherence to the new safety procedures in place. We have worked with our medical and athletic training staffs to ensure that our student-athletes receive the highest level of care in the safest possible environment, and our first-class medical care, mental health services, academic support, scholarship support, and other support services for student-athletes remain uninterrupted during this time.
We will continue our close collaboration with the Governor’s Office and all previously mentioned public health entities with the goal of creating a safe path forward that allows us to return to competition. If we are able to play football games during this academic year, and if fans are permitted in Autzen Stadium by health authorities, numerous safety protocols will be in place, all of which would be communicated in detail.
Our mission in Oregon Athletics remains clear: to provide a first-class student-athlete experience and strive for broad-based excellence. Through your commitment, together we have built something special at Oregon, and 2019-20 featured record student-athlete graduation rates, a Rose Bowl win, and Oregon becoming the first PAC-12 school to win football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball conference titles in the same academic year. This banner year also included Justin Herbert winning the William V. Campbell Trophy as the top football student-athlete in the nation and Sabrina Ionescu becoming the first player in college basketball history to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, AND 1,000 assists.
Our success is a product of the commitment, dedication, teamwork and competitive fire of our incredible student-athletes, and they are able to achieve and realize their fullest academic and athletic potential through your generosity and support. We seek to maintain the exceptional student-athlete experience, championship culture, and broad-based excellence that we have all worked so hard to establish before, during, and long after this pandemic.
From a financial standpoint, approximately 70% of our overall department revenues result directly from football. At this point, we estimate the net financial impact of a reduced number of football games and limited to no fans in Autzen Stadium to be in the range of mid-to-high eight figures. Should there be no competition this academic year, these losses will only grow.
In anticipation of these financial impacts, we implemented several initiatives months ago to reduce expenses, including across-the-board salary reductions, furloughs, and operating budget cuts. Our financial situation remains enormously difficult to navigate and includes additional operational expenses incurred with important added safety protocols now in place due to COVID-19.
With our department mission and our substantive financial challenges in mind, and for those who are able, we would be extremely grateful if you would consider converting the funds you have already paid into a 100% tax-deductible donation to the Duck Athletic Fund. As a season-ticket holder, your options are as follows:
• Credit – No action required
• All previously paid 2020 football season tickets, per seat and parking contribution funds have automatically become a credit in your account. Any credit in your account will be available towards the purchase of tickets to any Oregon Athletics events in 2021 (should health authorities permit fans in our facilities).
• Convert all or a portion of your account credit (2020 football season tickets, per seat and parking contribution funds) into a 100% tax-deductible donation to support Oregon student-athletes.
• Any credit remaining in your account, following your donation, will be available towards the purchase of tickets to any Oregon Athletics events in 2021.
• Request a refund
• Fans can request a partial or full refund for your 2020 football season tickets, per seat and parking contribution funds.
All fans supporting us through this challenging time with their account credit or reinvestment of football season ticket funds will receive the following incentives:
• Double priority points for all 2020 donations and 2021 credit rollovers*
• Priority points for the first time for all ticket dollars*
• Guaranteed price freeze on Fall 2021 football season tickets and seat/parking contributions
• Preservation of consecutive years of football season ticket purchases
• Chances to win special opportunities with Oregon Football
*New priority point calculations will begin in January of 2021 and be in effect throughout the 2021 calendar year.
Our goal is to strengthen the foundation you have helped us build, as we want to continue our amazing climb together. We are very grateful for all you have done to benefit the lives and development of our UO student-athletes. Your support has been the catalyst for a tremendous era of success for our Oregon Ducks, both in competition and in the classroom.
As we all continue to deal with the frustration and uncertainty presented by COVID-19, please follow all of the recommended precautions advised by public health experts to stay safe and healthy. We appreciate your patience, and we look forward to the time when we can see you again.
Thank you again for your incredible support of Oregon Athletics. Please stay safe.