COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio State University is projecting a $107 million deficit in its athletic department because of COVID-19 and has announced cuts to offset the loss, including furloughs and layoffs.

But they will not include cutting any of the university’s 36 sports.

Ohio State also says student-athletes will continue to have a fully funded grant-in-aid program, support services, and resources in the $180 million budget.

“Our student-athletes are our primary responsibility,” Director of Athletics Gene Smith said in a news release. “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.”

Ohio State has a self-sustaining athletic department that receives no university funds, tax dollars or student fees. The pandemic has impacted sources of revenue including ticket sales ($64 million), concessions, parking, marketing and media rights, licensing, royalties, Big Ten and NCAA distributions, endowment income, donations and rental activities.

The following furloughs, salary cuts and layoffs will take place:

  • 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.  

Ohio State said that work on the budget is ongoing but that major expense reductions include $9.6 million in savings through a short-term restructure on debt, $6.1 million in cuts from sports’ operating budgets, $4 million on administration/support unit operating budgets, $3.4 million in football game day expenses, $3 million in nonconference game guarantees and $3.0 million in facility operations.

The new budget includes $25 million for scholarships, $3.6 million for student-athlete academic support, $3 million for meals, refueling stations and nutrition, and $1.8 million for sports medicine and sports psychology services.

Adjustments based on furloughs, salary cuts and reductions in force will save an additional $7 million.

Cuts from the previous budget cycle led to $5.6 million in savings. Those included a hiring freeze, not filling vacant positions, no merit increases, elimination of travel, a pause on some planned facility projects, and operating budget spending restrictions.