Ohio State Department of Athletics announces details of FY21 budget
No reductions made in student-athlete services, support and resources
The Ohio State University Department of Athletics today announced details of an FY 2021 budget that includes department-wide budget cuts, furloughs and reductions in force, and focuses on mitigating a projected $107 million deficit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ohio State’s 36-sport program will remain intact and 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. “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.”
COVID-19 has posed significant budgetary challenges for the university. No stream of revenue has remained unaffected. The university has engaged in rigorous and responsible fiscal planning in response, including a hiring pause, travel freeze and operational efficiencies.
The FY21 athletics budget excludes media rights revenue that is still to be determined by the Big Ten Conference and its television partners.
Budget cuts were made prior to the start of FY21 that realized $5.6 million in savings. Savings resulted from implementation of 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.
While work on the budget is ongoing, 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 non-conference game guarantees and $3 million in facility operations.
The FY21 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.
Personnel related adjustments based on furloughs, salary cuts and reductions in force will save an additional $7 million. Virtually every employee in the department will be affected:
- 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.
The four staff members in the athletics department’s Sports Psychology and Wellness Services team will not be furloughed.
The athletics department is one of approximately 20 nationwide that has been 100 percent self-sustaining and receives no university funds, tax dollars or student fees. The pandemic has impacted all sources of revenue including ticket sales, which accounts for $64 million in revenue, concessions, parking, marketing and media rights, licensing, royalties, Big Ten and NCAA distributions, endowment income, donations and rental activities.
Revenue assumptions, totaling approximately $73 million in this FY21 budget, are conservative and subject to change. Major revenue items include:
- $28.6 million, development;
- $13.4 million, NCAA and Big Ten basketball tournaments, and bowl game distribution;
- $5.8 million, IMG/Learfield partnership;
- $4.6 million, endowment and investment income;
- $4.6 million, Ohio State University Golf Course;
- $2 million, trademark and licensing;
- $1.7 million, camps and clinics; and
- $1.1 million, limited home men’s basketball season.
“Like our colleagues in the Big Ten, and across the country, intercollegiate athletics at Ohio State will have to significantly adjust as the pandemic will have a long-term impact,” Smith said. “We will implement a long-term deficit recovery plan but will continue to focus on serving our student-athletes at the highest level.”