Iowa athletic department reduces budget by $15 million because of coronavirus

The Iowa athletic department on Tuesday announced budget reductions of about $15 million for the upcoming fiscal year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and many of the Hawkeyes' head coaches and senior administrators are taking voluntary pay cuts for the next year.

In a news release, Iowa officials said the athletic department budget for the previous fiscal year was $124.8 million and the anticipated budget for 2020-21 was $127.5 million. It has been reduced to $112.5 million after it cut $13 million in operating expenses and about $2 million in compensation.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said women's basketball coach Lisa Bluder, football coach Kirk Ferentz, men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery and wrestling coach Tom Brands have voluntarily agreed to a one-year, 15% base salary reduction or contribution back to the athletic department.

Barta will reduce his total compensation by more than 30%, and deputy AD Barbara Burke has agreed to a 25% salary reduction.

"None of this is easy for our coaches and staff," Barta said in a statement. "I appreciate their continued understanding in these uncertain times. The pandemic has dealt us a financial situation that requires difficult decisions. It is our responsibility to maintain a fiscally responsible operation while providing the highest level of service to our student-athletes."

Iowa officials said reductions in compensation will be implemented throughout the athletic department on a sliding scale based on annual salary.

"I care deeply about our staff and recognize a reduction in salary will have a significant impact on many families throughout the department. I want to thank our entire staff for their support and understanding as we have worked through this process," Barta said. "We are trying to balance making necessary financial cuts with spreading the sacrifice thoughtfully."

Barta said the announced budget and reductions were based on assumptions that the upcoming football and basketball seasons will be played with fans in attendance. If that doesn't happen, the Hawkeyes might be forced to make more significant cuts.

"These are challenging times with significant uncertainty," Barta said. "We are grateful for the loyal and generous support of our fans and appreciate knowing they are with us as we face this adversity."