MORGANTOWN—As is the case with many other colleges and universities in the current national COVID-19 crisis, West Virginia University has also announced athletic staff salary reductions for the next fiscal year.
WVU Athletic Director and Associate Vice President Shane Lyons said on Friday that starting on July 1st, he will take a voluntary 10 percent salary reduction, as well as head football coach Neal Brown, men’s head basketball coach Bob Huggins, women’s head basketball coach Mike Carey, and head baseball coach Randy Mazey. Additionally, Lyons said that coaches and athletic staff who make more than $100,000 per year will be subject to a 5% reduction, while staff making less than $100,000 will see a 2.5% reduction.
The budget cuts, which will save WVU a total of approximately $3 million dollars, comes as a result of various shortcomings by the NCAA in recent months, including the cancellation of the Big 12 and NCAA men’s basketball championship, loss of upcoming conference and ticket revenue, as well as less and/or lower Mountaineer Athletic Club (MAC) donations.
In conjunction with the university’s announcement of staff furloughs, approximately one-third of the athletic department’s workforce will be furloughed for 60 days starting on May 24th and ending on July 26th. Some employees will not return to the athletic department as part of measures towards a reduction in force, and current job openings will not be filled.
“News like this is not easy, and I appreciate the understanding of our staff in these uncertain times,” said Lyons. “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.”
Lyons also said that he and his administration continue to analyze the department’s overall budget status and will make additional cuts and savings when necessary. He also spoke on the topic of fall sports and how other universities are currently dealing with the situation.
“I am still optimistic that we will have a football season this fall,” Lyons stated. “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.”
Universities across the nation continue to face pressure to cut costs during the pandemic. Some schools have eliminated a few of their sports entirely, while other schools have insisted that their highest-paid employees take salary cuts.