The University of Idaho is facing a bit of a budget crisis. In a rare feat of dumb luck, misfortune and geography, Idaho may be able to get creative in generating new revenue during the upcoming fall season in midst of the current pandemic.
The State of Idaho, for right or wrong, is moving along quicker than some neighboring states at reopening. With the recent announcement that students will be returning to campus in August, along with rumors the football team could report to campus as soon as early June, everything is pointing towards Idaho hosting sports come fall.
States like Oregon have said no sporting events until October. The California State University system has said it doesn’t expect students back in the fall. It does not seem out of the realm of possibility that the state of Washington could say something similar and not allow sports within its state borders, seeing as the three states are apart of a joint COVID Coalition.
This puts our neighbors to the west in a particularly tough place. What if Washington State is not allowed to play sporting events in Martin Stadium come fall 2020? Is there a way to almost repay the “favor” they did for us back in late 90’s and early 2000’s?
Idaho at this point will have, we assume, already put into place proper precautions, procedures, and rules to be as safe a place as possible to host sports during the pandemic. All Washington State would have to do is bus the 8 miles to their new temporary home, play their home games in the Kibbie Dome, and then bus back. Idaho would obviously work out some sort of monetary deal for renting the Kibbie Dome. Whether it be a portion of ticket sales, concession, other game-day revenue, or just a flat fee depending on what the decided attendance structure even is (students only, season ticket holders only, completely empty?)
It also just so happens there is another school in a similar boat 77 miles away. It would be pretty cool having Coug, Eagle & Vandal doubleheaders in Moscow this fall.
Here is a hypothetical season in the Kibbie:
- Afternoon Kickoff: Idaho v Western Oregon
- Noon Kickoff: Eastern Washington v Western Illinois
- Evening Kickoff: Washington State v Houston
September 19th (AKA Palousefest 2020)
- Noon Kickoff: Eastern Washington v Northern Arizona
- Evening Kickoff: Washington State v Idaho
- Noon Kickoff: Eastern Washington v Montana
- Evening Kickoff: Washington State v Cal
- Noon Kickoff: Idaho v Portland State
- Evening Kickoff: Washington State v Utah
- Afternoon Kickoff: Eastern Washington v Idaho
- Afternoon Kickoff: Idaho v Montana
- Noon Kickoff: Idaho v Northern Arizona
- Evening Kickoff: Washington State v Arizona State
- Noon Kickoff: Eastern Washington v Montana State
- Evening Kickoff: Idaho v Southern Utah
- Evening Kickoff: Washington State v Oregon
- Afternoon Kickoff: Washington State v Washington
Big Sky at noon, followed up by ‘Pac-12 After Dark.’ That would be something else. Not to mention the added foot traffic coming to town to help those businesses that just penny-pinched to keep the lights on.
I understand that there are other logistics and more important health concerns that would need to be worked out to make this even remotely possible. We also aren’t even sure what the 2020 schedule will evolve into, as news is changing by the moment. It is an interesting scenario and alternative that the FBS & FCS programs in Palouse could look at. This is the outside-the-box thinking Idaho needs to be doing to conquer our financial woes. This call should at least be placed to the respective athletic directors on interest, if possible.
One last thought on this hypothetical, Just imagine the Kibbie Dome parking lot on September 19th or even October 3rd…Heaven won’t be the only place without beer!