FSU to cut athletics budget by 20 percent, implement pay cuts, layoffs
Facing major economic challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty surrounding the 2020 college football season, Florida State officials on Friday announced job cuts and cost-cutting measures throughout the athletics department and Seminole Boosters Inc.
In total, athletics director David Coburn said the school is cutting 20 percent from its athletics budget for the 2020-21 year. While a dollar amount was not provided, the cuts are expected to run well over $20 million.
News of the layoffs was first reported by Warchant on Thursday afternoon. Late Friday afternoon, the university provided details about the reductions and added that there will be pay cuts and possible furloughs in the future.
Here are some highlights from a letter sent from Coburn to staff members on Friday:
* Athletics department employees making over $150,000 will take 10 percent pay reductions
* Employees making between $72,000 and $149,999 will take 7.5 percent pay cuts.
* Employees making between $43,000 and $71,999 will take 5 percent pay cuts.
Along with those pay reductions, Coburn said furloughs remain a "strong possibility."
Coburn also said that head coaches in all sports -- led by Mike Norvell, Leonard Hamilton and Sue Semrau --- have taken "significant pay reductions" as part of these measures.
Coburn said he has taken a "substantial pay reduction" as well.
According to a university source, Norvell took a 25 percent pay cut to help offset cuts for his staff. Coburn took a 20 percent cut. And basketball coaches Hamilton and Semrau took 15 percent pay cuts.
The payroll reductions in administrative and professional positions will begin on Aug. 8 and run through the contract year.
Here is the complete letter from Coburn to the FSU staff:
Dear Seminole Family,
Unfortunately, my message to you today is not pleasant. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the appropriately dramatic physical distancing measures it forced, have had an impact on every facet of our society. It cost our basketball teams a chance to show how far they could go in the NCAA Tournament; took our indoor track & field teams and swimming and diving teams out of the NCAA Championship meets; and robbed our teams and athletes in spring sports of their opportunities to compete. Many of our seniors have made the difficult decision to end their FSU careers without completing their final season.
While I remain tremendously impressed by and appreciative of the hard work shown by our coaches and you during this pandemic, the financial impact could not have come at a more challenging time for Florida State Athletics. The probability that the upcoming athletic seasons will be affected in some way by the pandemic exists. While we have been able to withstand most of the economic impact from the lost revenue this spring, the anticipated drop in revenue this fall will be damaging. The pandemic is primarily responsible for our current and projected financial issues. However, declines in football season ticket sales and donations to the annual fund of Seminole Boosters, and the unanticipated expenses related to replacing the football coaching staff have resulted in revenue shortfalls.
We have been working diligently over the last several months to explore every option to minimize the impact of projected revenue shortfalls on our staff. Still, in response to current financial projections, I have implemented cost-cutting measures that include:
* Elimination of 25 full-time positions within the athletics department
Staff salary reductions in the following amounts
* 10% reduction in salary for employees making $150,000 and above.
* 7.5% reduction in salary for employees making between $72,000 and $149,999
* 5% reduction in salary for employees making between $43,000 and $71,999
* The overall operating budget will be cut by 20%
* Furloughs in addition to the salary reductions remain a strong possibility
Just for your information, these budget adjustments and are not being applied to the University at large. Athletics is a self-funded department, and the revenue shortfalls that triggered these reductions will not impact the budget of the institution in most cases.
I am personally heartbroken over the impact this pandemic has had on our employees, and I am disappointed that I must give you this discouraging news today. However, I am sure you have seen that other athletic departments around the country are also making reductions.
You should know that our head coaches have been remarkably gracious in this effort. All of them have taken significant salary reductions, led by Coach Norvell, Coach Hamilton and Coach Semrau. I have taken a substantial pay reduction as part of these measures.
The payroll reductions for A&P staff will go into effect beginning with your new appointment on August 8th and remain in effect through the contract year. Coaches on contract who have volunteered to take payroll reductions will see the adjustments in a similar timeframe.
Also beginning August 8th, we will start transitioning all non-coaching staff who currently have a department-provided cell phone and plan to a cell phone stipend. Athletics IT will schedule these transitions for all affected employees. Department heads and senior staff will be provided $75/month, and all other approved positions will be provided $40/month. These amounts are in line with the University’s allocated stipends. It will be up to each employee to select a phone provider and plan and work with the Athletics IT staff to enable your number to be ported to another carrier. If your current contract is still active, you will be transitioned to a stipend at the end of your contract.
Understanding this news will impact each of you personally, I wanted to allow you time to absorb the information. I, and some of my executive team, are happy to address any questions or concerns you may have. I have listed our contact numbers below for your reference. We will provide a list of Frequently Asked Questions to answer some initial questions, and schedule time at your convenience to meet with a member of FSU Human Resources to answer any questions you may have.You are remarkable people who make up an extraordinary team, and I thank you for your hard work and support. These are challenging times for so many reasons. We will get through this. We will persevere. We will remain Unconquered.