Education

Iowa athletics cuts 40 positions, requires furloughs and reduces pay for some employees

Second round of cuts due to loss of football revenue during COVID-19

University of Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta discusses findings of the independent review of issues of racial dispari
University of Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta discusses findings of the independent review of issues of racial disparities in the program during a news conference in the Feller Club Room at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Thursday, July 30, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

The University of Iowa athletics department will cut or leave vacant 40 positions due to COVID-19 budget cuts, officials confirmed Tuesday.

The department also will require all regular, non-contracted employees — excluding senior staff — to take 15 unpaid furlough days before Dec. 31.

Non-contracted Professional & Scientific senior staff in the athletics department will take a 5 percent base salary cut rather than the furlough. This does not include coaches, but does include administrators, such as Athletic Director Gary Barta.

These layoffs, furloughs and pay reductions, expected to save $3.1 million, are on top of pay cuts announced July 1.

At that time, the UI said top coaches — including Kirk Ferentz, Fran McCaffery and Lisa Bluder, among other employees — would lose 15 percent of their base salaries to help make up for a $15 million budget cut for the department.

The newest cuts will result in layoffs of 19 regular staff, 10 biweekly staff and one graduate assistant, Athletics Spokesman Steve Roe said in an email. Another 10 positions won’t be filled after retirements or other departures.

Employees’ layoff date is based on their category of employment and how long they’ve been at the UI.

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“Some biweekly staff will have a one-month notice, regular staff will have either a three month, six month, 9 month or 12 month notice period before their employment end date,” Roe said in an email.

Merit employees include clerical, janitorial or security workers. Positions in the P & S system generally require advanced knowledge which is typically gained through the completion of a four-year college degree, according to the UI’s website.

The athletics department brought in $152 million revenue in Fiscal 2019, nearly $15 million over the previous year. In fiscal 2018, more than than half of the department’s total $144 million revenue came from football. Another 9 percent came from men’s and women’s basketball.

The Big Ten Conference announced July 9 teams, including the Hawkeyes, won’t play non-conference games because of the risks of spreading COVID-19. Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said last month Hawkeye athletics faced a $65 million to $75 million budget shortfall with the loss of football TV money in 2020.

The losses forced the UI to cut four sports programs: men’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming and diving and men’s tennis.

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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