WVU athletics furloughs 65 employees, reduces coach salaries amid projected $5 million shortfall

WVU Mountaineers

West Virginia University Athletic Director of Athletics Shane Lyons has announced the department’s next steps as the department projects a $5 million shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly one-third of the athletic department’s workforce (a total of 65 employees) will be furloughed for 60 days starting on May 24 and ending July 26. Some employees will not return to the department and their positions will not be filled.

This news comes as University-wide furloughs of approximately 875 employees were announced by WVU on Friday morning.

In addition, Lyons, football coach Neal Brown, men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins, women’s basketball coach Mike Carey and baseball coach Randy Mazey will voluntary take a 10 percent salary reduction beginning July 1. Coaches and athletic staff making more than $100,000 will receive a 5 percent reduction, while staff making less than $100,000 will take a reduction of 2.5 percent.

These salary reductions total $3 million according to Lyons, and they will continue to analyze the department’s overall budget to further save funds.

“News like this is not easy. I appreciate the understanding of our staff in these uncertain times,” Lyons said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt us a financial situation that requires action, and our entire department will be affected as we work to minimize the effects and maintain a fiscally responsible operation.”

The athletic department’s financial troubles stems from several areas, including the cancellations of the Big 12 and NCAA men’s basketball championships, loss of Mountaineer Athletic Club donations and the expected loss of conference and ticket revenue.

“I am still optimistic that we will have a football season this fall,” Lyons said. “To date, more than 40 schools have announced budget reductions, 22 in the Power 5 conferences and six in the Big 12. Revenues, along with donor support, across the country have been affected by COVID-19, so we are not alone. However, we are trying to navigate this with the emphasis of making the least amount of negative impact on our student-athletes and department.”

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