Lawrence businesses worry over the future of college football

Canceling season would have economic impact
Massachusetts Street Lawrence
Posted at 4:33 PM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 18:18:29-04

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The University of Kansas football team is supposed to play its first game of the season in less than three weeks, but there is growing talk that college football could be over before it even begins.

Conferences across the nation, including the Big 12, are reportedly meeting this week to determine whether to cancel the fall football season because of COVID-19 concerns.

If they do, the decision will impact more than just schools.

"Everybody is feeling it, but everybody is trying to come together at the same time," said Beau Bruns, director of operations at the Burger Stand in Lawrence.

The Burger Stand sits on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, a popular spot for fans to gather before and after games.

"We have a bar upstairs, a bar downstairs, three floors. We have a line out the door from open to close pretty much,” Bruns said.

With COVID-19 still impacting how businesses operate, Bruns said the thought of sports returning is a tough situation to contemplate for the restaurant.

“Regardless, COVID has hurt a lot of business for us. We are taking all we can handle right now safely,” Bruns said. “That extra influx would have been fantastic, but I think it's going to make our staff feel a lot safer and a lot of the patrons are going to feel safer not just being inundated with fans everywhere.”

Other businesses told 41 Action News they will feel the pinch if the Big 12 cancels the season.

When it comes down to it, however, stores in this college town just want to keep people safe.

"We are all huge KU fans, but with how everything is going, we honestly would prefer everyone to be safe,” Bruns said. “I would love to see sports this year, but I would be okay if not if it makes everyone a lot safer.”

41 Action News reached out to the Big 12 for comment on the next steps for college football. Bob Burda, senior associate commissioner for communications for the conference, said in a statement: "There has been no change of course thus far, and therefore, nothing to announce.”

41 Action News Reporter Jordan Betts polled people on social media, asking if fans think the Big 12 will cancel the football season. Here were the results: