Kent State Reportedly Making Cuts Without Dropping Sports

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Kent State University’s athletic department is reportedly being asked to make about $6 million in budget cuts. The goal is to do so without cutting any sports.

The Record-Courier, a newspaper based in Kent, Ohio, reported that the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to have an impact on Kent State’s finances. The result is that the athletic department must cut 20 percent from its operating expenses, which were $29,573,232 in 2019 according to Kent State’s Athletics Revenue/Expense Report — obtained by the Record-Courier.

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Schools across the country have been forced to cut sports after revenues were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic canceling some winter championships and all spring sports. Classes also moved online, while there is the potential of smaller enrollments in the near future. Despite the financial hit, Kent State sources told the Record-Courier that the school doesn’t plan to cut any of its 19 sports.

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The number of scholarships could be cut, while other operating expenses are on the chopping block.

School-wide salary cuts have already been made, and will go into effect July 1. Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen’s salary will be cut by 10 percent, as will football coach Sean Lewis and men’s basketball coach Rob Senderoff. Lower-salaried coaches and employees will receive smaller pay cuts.

According to the Record-Courier, those salary cuts will equal about $800,000 in savings during the 2021 fiscal year, meaning cuts will likely have to come from elsewhere.

Kent State’s Athletics Revenue/Expense Report showed $6,460,147 in athletic student aid last year. The university is limiting the amount of athletes in school this summer, decreasing the amount of financing athletes receive from the school. The Record-Courier’s sources also suggested that the university could cut funds the university provides to athletes for personal and school-related expenses.

Some of the $3,231,767 in team travel expenses will be cut, as the Mid-American Conference has said its football teams won’t say in hotels the night before.

The 2020 football season — in jeopardy due to the coronavirus — is key for schools across the country to bring in some of their regular revenue. Kent State is scheduled to earn $5 million just from playing games at Penn State, Kentucky and Alabama in the first month of the season. If the season is canceled, those contracts could be voided.

Many schools are continuing to operate as though fall sports will happen. Designated Kent State athletes were allowed to return to campus June 8. Other universities have been back for a couple weeks, including athletes testing positive at schools like Alabama, Arkansas State, Iowa, Marshall and Oklahoma State.

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