Iowa AD: Cut Teams Can't Be Saved as Dept. Eyes Loan

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The University of Iowa athletic department is taking out a loan in order to get through a 2020-21 fiscal year with a full slate of varsity programs.

Athletic director Gary Barta discussed taking out a $75 million loan during a Monday press conference, which came three days after the university announced it will cut four programs after 2020-21. Barta said Monday that the men’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s tennis programs have no chance of being saved, although they will have the opportunity to compete this year — if the COVID-19 pandemic allows.

“I don’t want to create any false hope. The decision to cut these sports is final,” Barta said Monday, according to HawkCentral. “I know there’s people who want to help. The dollars just are so large that there really is no path forward to change this decision.

“We have no plans to cut additional sports. We think that this is the last we’ll have to do that. We have created a path forward. We’ve been working on this plan. It’s ugly. It’s hard. It includes more difficult decisions than I would choose to make.”

Related content: Iowa Cuts Four Sports as Deficits Hit Big Ten

Iowa’s decision to cut programs was announced 10 days after the Big Ten Conference postponed sports this fall, with the hopes of competing in the spring of 2021. The announcement was a big blow, particularly after the 2020 NCAA men’s basketball tournament was canceled. The Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Ohio State athletic departments have all announced projected losses of at least $100 million.

Iowa is projecting about $100 million of lost revenue and an overall deficit between $60-75 million this fiscal year. Barta expects cutting four sports, bringing Iowa down to 20 programs, will save about $5 million each year. HawkCentral, which noted that only Iowa’s football and men’s basketball teams are profitable, reported it may take 15 years for the university to pay off the $75 million loan.

No other Big Ten school has announced cuts yet, although The Columbus Dispatch reported Monday that Ohio State is now estimating $130.3 million in lost revenue during the current fiscal year, which runs through June 30, 2021.

Related content: Big Ten Commissioner: Decision to Cancel Fall is Final

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren wrote an Aug. 19 open letter saying the decision to postpone fall sports through 2020 was final.

“I write on this occasion to share with you additional information regarding the Big Ten Conference’s decision to postpone the 2020-21 fall sports season,” Warren’s letter reads. “We thoroughly understand and deeply value what sports mean to our student-athletes, their families, our coaches and our fans. The vote by the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) was overwhelmingly in support of postponing fall sports and will not be revisited. The decision was thorough and deliberative, and based on sound feedback, guidance and advice from medical experts.”

Related content: Big Ten Ads Wanted to Play Football; Some Still Trying

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