Pitt AD Heather Lyke: Optimistic For Football and Supports Student Athletes Capitalizing on Likeness With Safeguards

Cook and Joe Show

Joe Kapp
May 01, 2020 - 3:47 pm
Pitt AD Heather Lyke

93.7 the Fan

Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke told the Cook and Joe Show when she joined them on Friday that she supports student athletes capitalizing in their name and likeness as long as there are significant safeguards in place.


“We just don’t want recruiting impacted in a negative or significant way, “ Lyke said. “We are certainly want to make sure our student athletes focus on their academics and being a college student athlete and also you got outsiders that are certainly maybe getting

involved that wouldn’t otherwise be and so making sure that our student athletes are focusing on the student part and the athlete part is sort of a side opportunity that may come open for some people”


The other concern is that if not regulated certain school’s or coaches could use the opportunity to get more athletes because they can promise additional endorsement potential by attending their school over another.


“That’s the recruiting piece that I think worries everybody in college athletics, “ Lyke added. “We got to get significant guardrails in place in regards to how outside influences, whether they are donors or boosters or 3rd parties get involved.”


Lyke says the regulation will be significant because it would be too much for the current compliance committees as staffed to undertake. It would require a more enhanced set of regulations and oversight and a structure that needs created over each of these areas.


Pitt has joined many other schools in offering senior spring athletes an opportunity to return for their lost senior season. Lyke said it was the right thing to do for the student athletes and the cost would be made up from the money saved by not having the spring seasons.


“We did have a lot of savings because we didn’t have spring championships and all of those teams didn’t travel anywhere. Our coaches have not been recruiting since the pandemic came.” Lyke added. “This is not a situation where we are dipping into university endowment. That’s a much bigger concern of the university and those funds are used for more university wide needs.”


Many schools have been hit hard by the lost revenue of no conference tournaments or NCAA Tournament but what would happen to Pitt and the other schools if there is no football season this fall?


“No one can hide behind the fact that football is an economic engine of any athletic department at this level, So it would be really significant and unfortunate.” Lyke told the guys. “We certainly hope that we can plan to have a full go football season. Certainly think about our fan experience =, our student athlete experience and what that is like and how we need to make some modifications and just provide the most safe and healthy and positive environment possible,”


She says they have to work under 3 possible models….one where they have a football season as normal…although as she points out normal will certainly be different now….no football which is the worst case scenario or a situation where there would be a season but one that might be modified with a short schedule.


Lyke says she can’t envision a situation where nobody is on campus other than the athletes and that they would play in front of no fans.


So is she optimistic that we will have football of some kind this fall?


“I am optimistic,” Lyke said. “I would say it’s conservative you know I wouldn’t be overly confident in it but I’m optimistic.”


Lyke says that with no vaccine coming for the virus in the next year it’s something that we have to work around.


“We got to learn to live with this and manage it and do it in the safest way possible,” Lyke said. “I am optimistic that we are going to figure out the proper measure, the proper mechanics, the processes for us to have student athletes back and test them as needed and if people are ill be conservative…just be smart how we manage this.”