A total of 46 employees in Ohio State’s athletic department signed salary reduction agreements accepting pay cuts, totaling $1,004,409 in savings, according to buckeyextra.com, citing an open records request by The Columbus Dispatch.
All athletic department employees were asked to take a 5 percent reduction in base salary, including all on-field assistant football coaches, men’s basketball assistants and Olympic sports coaches.
The biggest savings come out of the salaries of football coach Ryan Day and men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann, who are giving a combined $338,802 back to the department over the span of nine months, records show. Athletic director Gene Smith took a pay cut of $57,960.
“It’s the right thing to do, so I didn’t hesitate when they told me what was going to happen,” said Larry Johnson, the defensive line coach who is currently serving as acting head coach following Day’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
The cost-saving plan was implemented in September amid the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, much of it due to a loss of revenue generated by football ticket sales and other gameday-related incomes.
The department forecasted a $107 million budget deficit in its fiscal year 2021 budget, though the nine-figure projection released three months ago did not include potential media rights revenues that would be realized if a football season was held this fall. The Buckeyes have so far played four games.
The Dispatch reported in February that 2019 marked the first year in the previous 10 in which Ohio State’s athletic department reported an operating deficit ($10 million).
In its filing with the NCAA, the school showed $210.5 million in total revenues and $220.6 million in operating expenses for the 2019 fiscal year, which runs July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. It was a sharp increase in expenses from the previous fiscal year, in which it reported a $1.75 million surplus.