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HUNTINGTON — Conference USA’s spring meetings typically take place in the warmth and comfort of Destin, Florida.

This year, however, those meetings are taking place virtually due to safety concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Considering all the league has to go over during its meetings, which started Friday and run through Wednesday, there may not have been any time to take in the Florida sun, anyway.

Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick would not elaborate on the nature of the meetings or what discussions that they would entail.

“I’m not at liberty to answer that,” Hamrick said. “We’re just dealing with all types of different issues that everyone is dealing with, too.”

Hamrick and his fellow athletic directors are facing several new challenges from years past as they dive into the conference’s needs this week.

One item that could present itself during the meetings is a concern for all Group of Five schools that has surfaced in recent days: that being if the 2020 season is shortened and non-conference games are eliminated, how big of an impact will that have on member schools.

One of the biggest question marks surrounding Conference USA and the potential losses includes whether the COVID-19 pandemic would qualify for insurance protection to cover the value of those ‘buy’ games.

With those games being of such importance to the league members, Conference USA has insurance to protect it from unreasonable losses for uncontrollable situations.

Those instances have surfaced many times due to weather-related cancellations brought on by hurricanes and other factors outside of the control of the league.

In 2018, that insurance was beneficial to Marshall when it protected the $1.3 million purse the Herd would have seen from the game that was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.

The unknown is whether a global pandemic — something that hasn’t been seen in recent history — is covered under insurance.

If not, it creates another large hole in the fabric of Conference USA’s budgets, which have already been squeezed by COVID-19.

A call to Conference USA officials for clarification on the insurance situation was not immediately returned.

Those ‘buy’ games generate significant revenue for Group of Five schools, who utilize the non-conference slate in order to accrue money to offset operating costs during the year.

For example, Southern Miss is getting paid $1.85 million to travel to Auburn this year. If that game is scrapped due to a shortened season and that amount is not covered under Conference USA’s insurance policy, it would represent a 7.6 percent loss in total revenue, which was valued at $24.2 million in 2017-18, based on numbers released by USA Today.

Louisiana Tech, who has the lowest budget of any Conference USA team at $23.6 million, also has a ‘buy’ game at Vanderbilt this year that nets $800,000 — a 3.3 percent chunk, based on those same USA Today numbers.

Hamrick said that, in that sense, Marshall got lucky due to not having any ‘buy’ games scheduled this season, but still could miss out on significant gates for home dates, should fans not be allowed in for home contests against Pitt and Boise State.

“It’s going to affect everyone in some way,” Hamrick said. “We’re fortunate this year, but just think if you are opening a season up and you’re getting one game for a $1.5 to $2 million guarantee and you don’t play. Your whole athletic program is dependent on that one game.”

It is one of many important issues that the league’s officials will dissect during the virtual meetings this week.

Another issue being discussed is a new basketball format with the league going away from Bonus Play while trying to regionalize scheduling.

Discussions on conference alliances for scheduling will be in the works, in regards to that regionalization.

Championship format changes also could be on the agenda for this week.

Items discussed in the spring meetings will have to be sent to the league’s university presidents for approval, according to Hamrick.

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