The University of Michigan athletic department announced on Tuesday that it has eliminated 21 jobs in addition to the hiring freeze that has led to 15 positions within the department going unfilled in 2020 due the the financial strain from the COVID-19 pandemic. The department cites a projected $100 million loss of revenue as the reason the decisions were made.
“The decision to implement staffing reductions was not made lightly and is difficult because of the deep impact on all aspects of our department and especially those who are directly affected,” athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. “We will continue to identify all necessary strategies to mitigate our circumstances, and we will continue to support our dedicated colleagues who have been so greatly affected.”
In addition to the above measures, Michigan also says that further action is being considered via temporary furloughs and reduction in staff work hours depending on the details of returning to competition, whenever that takes place.
Salary freezes across the department were also previously announced, as well as pay cuts between 5 and 10 percent. Operating and team budgets have also been reduced in the wake of the pandemic.
The Big Ten announced on Aug. 11 that all fall sports were being postponed. Manuel said in a letter to employees that the staff eliminations for the fiscal year were now complete.
Many of the people affected are not highly-paid coaches or assistants, but staffers that draw salaries closer to what the average person makes. Our hearts go out to them during this time and we hope that the affected land on their feet.