Facing a $107 million budget shortfall amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio State will enact widespread cost-saving measures across the athletic department.
The fiscal year 2021 budget unveiled Wednesday includes furloughs and staff reductions but provides for all 36 sports. The budget is $180 million in all, with only $73 million in projected revenues. It does not include revenues from media rights that haven’t been determined.
“Our student-athletes are our primary responsibility,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a news release. “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.”
The school said the athletic department already trimmed $5.6 million through a hiring freeze, leaving vacant jobs unfilled, eliminating travel and making other cuts. Reductions in the next fiscal year include nearly $10 million in debt restructuring, and also come from savings of $3.4 million in football game-day expenses and $3 million in guarantees for non-conference games that won’t be played.
Another $7 million will be saved through furloughs, salary cuts and the elimination of 25 department jobs.
“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.
The school said the Buckeyes athletic department is one of about 20 across the country that funds itself and doesn’t receive state money or university funds. Of the lost income, $64 million of it is from ticket sales.