UW Athletics Cuts $26M in Expenses Amid Pandemic

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The University of Wisconsin athletic department is projecting a $47 million net impact of the COVID-19 pandemic this school year.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, UW associate athletic director and chief financial officer Adam Barnes gave a report to the Athletic Board’s Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee on Wednesday. Barnes reportedly said that the athletic department has cut $26 million in expenses this fiscal year, and that revenue losses compared to the pre-pandemic budget will be around $73 million.

The losses of course began when COVID-19 began to shut down sports last March, which led to UW’s net loss just short of $1 million during the 2019-20 school year. The cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournament meant big losses for athletic departments, as did the coronavirus’ impact on the football season last fall.

The UW hasn’t made any ticket revenue from football, basketball or hockey this year, as all home games have been closed to the public. Conversely, Auburn, which reported $31 million in football ticket sales, recently reported operating revenue of more than $153.7 million. Combined with a decrease in spending, Auburn had a profit of nearly $17.9 million this fiscal year.

Related content: Auburn Manages Profit Despite Ongoing Pandemic

The UW’s operating revenues were $148.2 million in 2019-20, while operating expenses were $149.2 million. However, the UW reportedly isn’t considering cutting any sponsored sports, according to deputy athletic director Chris McIntosh. While other schools have had to cut teams to save money, UW’s $26 million in savings have come from steps like furloughs and voluntary salary cuts. The athletic department put 20 employees on 100 percent furlough earlier this month, while the NCAA’s recruiting freeze meant $300,000 less was spent in recruiting in 2019-20 than in 2018-19.

Related content: NCAA Revenue Drops 50 Percent in 2020

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