The biggest and most successful athletic program in the Big Ten is also facing the biggest reported budget deficit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ohio State projects a $107 million deficit for the current fiscal year, the school announced on Wednesday, following a projected revenue dip of more than 60 percent.
As a result, OSU will eliminate 25 athletic department positions and require 345 employees to take furloughs of varying lengths. Those moves come after the school had already instituted a hiring freeze, wage freezes, travel restrictions and a pause on some facility projects.
Ohio State sponsors 36 varsity sports, the most in the country, and will not cut any sports or reduce any scholarships.
“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,” Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said in a statement. “We will implement a long-term deficit recovery plan but will continue to focus on serving our student-athletes at the highest level.”
Ohio State’s budget situation is only slightly worse than that in Ann Arbor. Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel said earlier this month that the Wolverines were looking at a loss of about $100 million for the fiscal year.
Michigan was forced to lay off 21 athletic department employees and has left the door open for further hour reductions and furloughs.
Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman originally projected a budget deficit of $80-85 million, but said recently that he hopes the department can break even following some budget cuts and the reinstatement of the fall football season.
But like Ohio State, both Michigan and Michigan State have both thus far been able to navigate budget crises without cutting any sports.