West Virginia University announced that the athletic department will have to furlough 65 employees for 60 days starting on May 24th and ending on July 26th due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is nearly 33% of the workforce and it was also noted that some employees will not return to the department and their positions will not be filled. This is part of a broader plan by WVU which is furloughing a total of 875 employees across the University.
In addition, AD Shane Lyons, football coach Neal Brown, men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins, women’s basketball coach Mike Carey and baseball coach Randy Mazey will voluntarily take a 10 percent salary reduction beginning July 1. Coaches and athletic staff making more than $100,000 will receive a 5 percent reduction, while staff making less than $100,000 will take a reduction of 2.5 percent.
This is expected to save the athletic department $3 million.
Lyons said in a press release, “News like this is not easy. I appreciate the understanding of our staff in these uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt us a financial situation that requires action, and our entire department will be affected as we work to minimize the effects and maintain a fiscally responsible operation.”
As for whether or not a football season will be played, Lyons added, “I am still optimistic that we will have a football season this fall. To date, more than 40 schools have announced budget reductions, 22 in the Power 5 conferences and six in the Big 12. Revenues, along with donor support, across the country have been affected by COVID-19, so we are not alone. However, we are trying to navigate this with the emphasis of making the least amount of negative impact on our student-athletes and department.”
All Big 12 schools did announce this week they plan to open up for the fall semester.
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