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UTEP, Ohio State Face Furloughs Amid Revenue Losses

Jason Scott

UTEP athletic director Jim Senter announced steep cuts in his department on Wednesday, saying in a press release that all employees would be furloughed, salaries would be reduced for some, and that some positions would go unfilled due to revenue losses the school has sustained during the pandemic.

The El Paso Times reports that salary reductions include head football coach Dana Dimel and head basketball coach Rodney Terry.

“We feel for all of our employees that are impacted by these decisions, which are difficult and unfortunate but ultimately necessary during these turbulent times,” Senter said in a statement. "We appreciate Rodney and Dana recognizing the challenges that we currently face, stepping up to the plate and sacrificing their salaries to help offset lost resources in our department.”

Both impacted coaches told the Times that they understood the decision and were grateful to be able to mitigate some of the damage and reduce the harm to other members of the department by taking pay cuts.

“The last few months have been unprecedented for our country," Terry said. "UTEP is among many universities and colleges whose athletic budget has been affected by these challenging times. I am grateful for the opportunity to make this sacrifice and help limit the overall impact on my teammates.”

“It’s tough seeing the COVID-19 pandemic take a toll on our staff, as it has in many athletic departments across the country,” added Dimel. “I’m glad that I’ve been blessed with the ability to help mitigate some of the damage. We’ll continue to press forward with the expectation that better days are ahead for our community, UTEP Athletics and our football program.”

Meanwhile, Senter said that openings within the department have gone unfilled since Sept. 1. 

The Times reports that UTEP hasn’t provided a figure for its projected revenue loss, but noted that football attendance is currently capped at 8,400 and that the Miners didn’t sell out their first two games. 

The Miners aren’t the only ones facing financial setbacks amid the pandemic. Ohio State — one of the richest departments in the country — announced on Wednesday that it was projecting a revenue loss of $107 million in fiscal year 2021, and that as a result it would cut athletics budgets and furlough staff, as well. 

In a press release, Ohio State highlighted that its 36-sport program would remain intact, and that student-athletes would continue to get full support from the school. 

“Our student-athletes are our primary responsibility,” Ohio State AD Gene Smith said. “They have and will continue to come first. We have put together a responsible and conservative budget for this fiscal year, which assumes full support for our student-athletes. In the midst of this devastating pandemic, we remain committed to providing a safe and excellent academic and athletic experience for all of our student-athletes.”

OSU’s personnel adjustments include:

  • 48 members of the athletic training staff and strength and conditioning staff will have a 5-day intermittent furlough, to be completed between Oct. 6 and June 30, 2021;
  • 213 staff members are assigned to a 10-day intermittent furlough, to be completed between Oct. 6 and June 30, 2021;
  • 84 staff members will go on a 60-day, continuous furlough or redeployment from Oct. 9 through Dec. 31;
  • 47 contracted staff members will be asked to take a voluntary, 5 percent salary reduction between Oct. 1 and June 30, 2021; and
  • A permanent reduction in force will eliminate 25 full-time athletics positions.
  • The four staff members in the athletic department’s Sports Psychology and Wellness Services team will not be furloughed.

“Like our colleagues in the Big Ten, and across the country, intercollegiate athletics at Ohio State will have to significantly adjust as the pandemic will have a long term impact,” Smith said. “We will implement a long term deficit recovery plan but will continue to focus on serving our student-athletes at the highest level.”

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