COLUMBUS — Major financial cuts are coming at Ohio State.
And while essentially every employee in the athletic department will be impacted, the cost-saving measures implemented for the Buckeyes are designed to protect every sport the school sponsors.
The school announced its plan on Wednesday morning following the sobering realization that it’s facing a projected deficit of $107 million in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and with no current ability to host fans in the Horseshoe for home games this season.
“Our student-athletes are our primary responsibility,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “They have and will continue to come first. We have put together a responsible and conservative budget for this fiscal year, which assumes full support for our student-athletes.
“In the midst of this devastating pandemic, we remain committed to providing a safe and excellent academic and athletic experience for all of our student-athletes.”
Among the measures to reduce the budget, Ohio State will take the following measures related to personnel in the athletic department:
- 48 members of the athletic training staff and strength and conditioning staff will have a 5-day intermittent furlough, to be completed between Oct. 6 and June 30, 2021;
- 213 staff members are assigned to a 10-day intermittent furlough, to be completed between Oct. 6 and June 30, 2021;
- 84 staff members will go on a 60-day, continuous furlough or redeployment from Oct. 9 through Dec. 31;
- 47 contracted staff members will be asked to take a voluntary, 5 percent salary reduction between Oct. 1 and June 30, 2021; and
- A permanent reduction in force will eliminate 25 full-time athletics positions.
Work on the finalized budget is not complete, but Ohio State also is scaling back financially via major expense reductions that include $9.6 million in savings through a short-term restructure on debt, $6.1 million in cuts from sports’ operating budgets, $4 million on administration/support unit operating budgets, $3.4 million in football game-day expenses, $3 million in non-conference game guarantees and $3.0 million in facility operations.
“Like our colleagues in the Big Ten, and across the country, intercollegiate athletics at Ohio State will have to significantly adjust as the pandemic will have a long term impact,” Smith said. “We will implement a long term deficit recovery plan but will continue to focus on serving our student-athletes at the highest level.”
This is a developing story, and Lettermen Row will continue to update it as more information becomes available. Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith is expected to have a press conference later on Wednesday.