Low- and mid-major programs rely on games and payouts from bigger schools to fund their athletic departments.
The Athletic has a great article about struggles with basketball scheduling that go beyond "will we even play?" Basically- the money for buy games is drying up and a lot of programs are going to have trouble balancing the books if that is the case.
To summarize, for those without a subscription:
1. Buy games for low majors have dropped in price from $85k-$120k per game to $25k. A low major coach is quoted as saying: “I said, ‘huh?’” said the coach, who asked to remain anonymous. “I can’t even start my bus there.”
2. The market became saturated when the Southland cut its conference schedule from 20 to 16 games, adding 52 games where teams are looking to be bought (if you have a subscription, it is worth reading the article just to hear how steamed Stephen F. Austin is).
3. The multi-team event rules changed, where the teams that don't travel to the main pod of the Maui Invitational can't get the same payment as before. Kansas used to be able to get two teams to come play for $75k, but the visitors got their full $150k payment for two games. Now KU would have to pay full boat. Due to the change, high-majors dropped a bunch of those games.
A lot of schools are reliant on these transfers of cash (the SWAC particularly), including some in this conference. Maine needs to be bought for football and basketball to balance the books. If the power 5 is paying much less, and conferences like the MAC and Atlantic 10 don't have any money to buy anyone, will smaller schools be able to operate at the level they are now? Walsh used to be up front about Maine needing to play a certain number of buy games to pay the coaches' salaries for the year. Maine's AD has been frank during the shutdown that not playing games is actually saving money. Losing close to $1M from football buy games (UConn and Ball State this year) hurts, but the savings on travel more than make up for it.
The changes could be pretty seismic, even when the pandemic is over.