The Indiana University athletic department has kicked off a fundraising effort to help pay for athletic scholarships during a projected $60 million departmental budget deficit.
The athletic department announced its “Never Daunted” giving campaign Wednesday, an “all-in effort to support its nearly 700 student-athletes and 24 varsity athletic programs by fully-funding the department's anticipated $19.8 million scholarship bill.”
An update from athletic director Scott Dolson said that the fiscal troubles have caused the athletic department to leave 35-plus jobs unfilled, reduce its budget by $11.8 million and implemented an all staff salary reduction.
“As painful and difficult as those decisions were, they were necessary to respond to our new reality,” said Dolson, who was named the athletic director in March. “Unfortunately, those measures alone are not enough. In my 30 years working in the varsity club and now as the director of athletics, there’s never been more of a crucial need for private support than there is today.
“While I know this is an incredible ask of people at this time, it shows you the dire situation that we’re in.”
Dolson said that the return of football amid the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t enough to alleviate the fiscal issues. Indiana’s nine-game football schedule will kick off at home against Penn State on Oct. 24, but the decreased number of games and lack of fans in attendance will have a significant impact on the athletic department’s profits.