COVID-19 Impact

UT Austin athletics kicks off school year with layoffs and salary reductions

UT Austin athletics kicks off year with layoffs and salary reductions

Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at night football Longhorns
The Texas Longhorn football team will see dramatically reduced crowds — and revenue — this fall. Photo courtesy of Texas Football

The sports program at the University of Texas at Austin is slashing jobs and salaries in an effort to bounce back from financial woes triggered by the ongoing pandemic.

On September 1, Texas Athletics announced that effective immediately, it’s laying off 35 staff members and permanently eliminating 35 vacant positions. Also, 11 staff members are being temporarily furloughed with benefits. 

Furthermore, 25 coaches and administrators volunteered to take pay cuts from September 1 through next August 31, and 273 staff members will be hit with salary reductions from October 16 through next August 31. Based on three salary tiers, pay reductions start at 2.5 percent and go up from there. 

Along with the new school year, which began August 26, the university’s 2020-21 budget year kicked off September 1. 

UT says these moves will save $13.5 million as the athletics department copes with revenue lost due to canceled or scaled-back sporting events. The university sponsors 20 sports programs.

“These are unprecedented times we are in, and all of us in college athletics are facing unexpected circumstances, a lot of change, and very difficult decisions,” Chris Del Conte, UT’s athletics director, wrote in a university newsletter. “None of it has been easy, and we recognize the impact it’s had on so many and are deeply sorry for that. But we also know it’s our responsibility to position Texas Athletics to remain solvent, steady, and able to perform at the highest level.”

Del Conte says the cutbacks, which came after “many painful and heartbreaking conversations,” will help ensure financial stability for Texas Athletics.

These cost-slashing measures were taken “in large part because, financially, our goal is and always will be to provide first-class opportunities, resources, and support for our student-athletes as they develop and train for excellence in their sports, the classroom, and life,” Del Conte wrote.