To help compensate for lost NCAA distribution and added expenditures caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak, Washington State announced multiple “cost containment” measures Monday, including temporary pay reductions for multiple coaches and school administrators.
WSU football coach Nick Rolovich, men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith, Director of Athletics Pat Chun and President Kirk Schulz will all take 5% salary reductions through the end of the 2020-21 academic year, the school announced Monday.
Additionally, all WSU coaches, along with Schulz and Chun, will voluntarily forego all bonuses and/or incentives through the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
When he was hired in January, Rolovich agreed to a five-year contract that pays the coach approximately $3 million per year. Smith is earning nearly $1.6 million annually after accepting a six-year contract with the school last March. Chun makes $650,000 annually as the Cougars’ AD while Schulz earns a base yearly salary of $625,000.
Those salary reductions alone will save more than $283,750 in total expenditures.
“As the most fiscally efficient athletic department in the nation, revenue reductions and added expenditures such as these are very significant,” Chun said in a school statement. “We’re in the process of defining cost containment measures for the current and upcoming years. Rest assured, all WSU coaches and staff members are committed to our student-athletes and furthering the mission of our great institution.”
Other efforts taken by the school to cut expenses include a freeze in season ticket prices for all sports and a freeze in the price of student sports passes for the 2020-21 academic year.
WSU and other schools need to account for a large reduction in NCAA distribution, without the usually guaranteed payouts from the NCAA tournament – the largest casualty of the coronavirus outbreak. Schools are also expecting added costs in 2020-21 after the NCAA granted an additional year of eligibility to spring student-athletes that lost their season because of the virus.
According to WSU’s statement, “we have a number of seniors who have communicated their desire to return for an additional year of competition.” The schoolestimates an additional $300,000 in athletic grant-in-aid costs for the 2021 fiscal year.
WSU’s cost-cutting strategies align with those introduced by other athletic departments across the country in the past week as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Iowa State implemented a one-year, temporary pay cut for its coaches that will reduce the department’s payroll by a total of $3 million. ISU announced other actions, including a freeze on season ticket sales, that would cut payroll by another $1 million, bringing the total reductions to $4 million.
Last Thursday, Eastern Washington football coach Aaron Best announced on Twitter he’d voluntarily take an indefinite 10% pay cut to aid the school and athletic department.
“Trying times for all,” Best posted. “I am taking steps to do my part for our university and department by taking an indefinite 10% paycut of salary to better the welfare of our university, department, football program, and student-assistants. Moving ahead I urge you all to do your part when you can!”