The University of Arizona's athletic department will eliminate 21 full-time positions as it continues to deal with the stark financial realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also not fill 15 positions that became vacant during the past six months, the department said in a news release.
"Today marks a difficult day of very tough decisions for our athletics department," athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement. "I have a great sense of empathy and compassion for the members of our Wildcat Family who are impacted by these decisions.
"These challenging economic times have affected all of us. We've spent months exhaustively looking at all of our financial models and forecasts. We waited until all the information was available to make informed financial decisions about our economic stability this year and in the future."
As reported by the Arizona Daily Star, the department said it anticipates losing $45 million or more as the result of the pandemic, which led to the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA basketball tournaments and all spring sports and will keep fans from attending Pac-12 sporting events at least through January.
UA president Robert Robbins praised the departments efforts to take their financial obligations seriously. “We all share the responsibility of effectively managing our resources to ensure we can effectively recover from this crisis," he said.
The athletic department has cut $3.6 million in salaries, much of which was the result of following the UA's campus-wide furlough program, hiring freezes and workforce reductions. The department said it has saved $8 million in administrative expenses, $5.2 million in "overall sport expenses" and $3.2 million in operations and facility expenses while restructuring its debt for 2020-21, which is expected to save the department $10 million.