The University of Iowa will cut $15 million from its athletics department budget and the Hawkeyes’ highest-profile coaches and administrators have agreed to compensation reductions of 15% or more during a new fiscal year that begins Wednesday.
Coaches Lisa Bluder, Tom Brands, Kirk Ferentz and Fran McCaffery have voluntarily agreed to a one-year, 15% base salary reduction or contribution back to the athletics department, director of athletics Gary Barta announced Tuesday.
Deputy athletics director Barbara Burke has agreed to a 25% salary reduction and Barta has reduced his total compensation package by more than 30% as Iowa adjusts its proposed 2021 fiscal year athletics budget to compensate for anticipated revenue losses created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Iowa athletics department, which receives no tax dollars and has been self-supporting since 2007, had an operating budget of $124.8 million for the fiscal year which ended Tuesday.
Barta’s initial budget proposal for the 2020-21 fiscal year came in at $127.5 million, but with reductions in compensation and operations will now be presented to the Iowa Board of Regents at $112.5 million.
"The pandemic has dealt us a financial situation that requires difficult decisions," Barta said in a statement. "It is our responsibility to maintain a fiscally responsible operation while providing the highest level of service to our student-athletes."
The approximately $15 million reduction assumes that the Hawkeyes will have complete football and basketball seasons with fans in attendance. Any interruptions or reductions in those seasons would lead to more significant cuts.
The reduction includes trimming $13 million in operating expenses from throughout the 24 intercollegiate athletics programs the department operates. The remaining $2 million comes from compensation adjustments.
The reductions in salary and compensation are being spread across the department, Barta said.
Professional and scientific, non-contracted staff members will see one-year salary reductions based on a graduated scale.
In general, staff members earning above $200,000 will see a 10% reduction in salary base, staff making between $150,000-199,999 will see a cut of 7.5% and staff making between $100,000-149,999 seeing a 5% cut. Staff members who earn between $50,143-99,999 will see a 3% reduction in their base pay while those making under $50,143 will have a 2% reduction.
Merit employees will participate in the process through utilization of unpaid leave days in either six- or eight-day increments while contracted employees are being asked to participate in a voluntary salary reduction or contribution back to the department.
"I care deeply about our staff and recognize a reduction in salary will have a significant impact on many families throughout the department," Barta said. "I want to thank our entire staff for their support and understanding as we have worked through this process. We are trying to balance necessary financial cuts with spreading the sacrifice thoughtfully."
During the past fiscal year, Ferentz had a base pay of $4.8 million as Iowa's 21st-year football coach, while McCaffery made $2 million in his 10th season as the men's basketball coach.
Bluder was paid $653,531 as the Hawkeyes' women's basketball coach and Brands made $190,000 before receiving a contract extension earlier this year that included a bump in base pay to $350,000.
Barta, who implemented a hiring and spending freeze in April shortly after the onset of the coronavirus situation, said during a video conference last month that Iowa would continue to fully fund its $13-14 million in scholarship obligations to the university but was looking to make cuts in other areas.
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