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Mizzou athletics cutting $5 million with layoffs, salary reductions

Mizzou athletics cutting $5 million with layoffs, salary reductions

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COLUMBIA, Mo. - As part of sweeping budget cuts in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Missouri athletics departments will save $5 million with layoffs, furloughs and salary reductions, athletics director Jim Sterk told his employees in an email sent Friday and obtained by the Post-Dispatch.

The layoffs, furloughs and a three-tiered salary reduction plan will account for nearly a third of $16.5 million in planned budget cuts for the department, Sterk wrote. Sterk and leaders across the Southeastern Conference have said they expect the college football season to start on time this fall, but MU’s department is projecting a 20-percent revenue shortfall for the year. For the 2019 fiscal year, Mizzou's athletics operating expenses totaled $108,398,447.

Mizzou will also cut all performance and academic incentive bonuses until further notice, Sterk wrote. 

The planned salary reductions will only impact employees with salaries greater than $60,000. Employees making between $60,000 an $100,000 will see their salaries reduced 7.5 percent from July 1 to Sept. 30, according to the email. Employees making more than $100,000 will see a 10-percent reduction during the same three-month period.

Sterk and Mizzou’s highest paid head coaches agreed to voluntary salary reductions earlier this spring, in line with similar temporary cuts for other university leaders. Football’s Eliah Drinkwitz, men’s basketball’s Cuonzo Martin, women’s basketball’s Robin Pingeton, baseball’s Steve Bieser and wrestling’s Brian Smith volunteered for 10-percent salary cuts from May 1 to July 31.

The athletics department did not announce any layoffs, but multiple sources confirmed that Jay Luksis, executive associate AD for marketing, and Stan Silvey, assistant AD for broadcast operations, were both laid off this week.

On Friday, the University of Missouri announced its latest totals for layoffs at 88, for a savings of $3.09 million. MU has furloughed 1,683 employees for a savings of $2.5 million and reduced 1,572 employee salaries for a savings of $4.5 million. MU has also put in place travel bans and spending restrictions. 

On May 14, Sterk said Mizzou was still "wrestling" with decisions on budget cuts.

"We think maybe there'll be a 20 % downturn in tickets (sales) and donations," he said. "So what does that mean to our budget? We need to make adjustments to our budget, but we're still a ways away from that. But I would say all those (human resource) tools we’ll need to utilize.”

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