As the 2019-20 fiscal year ended on Tuesday for the Texas Longhorns athletic department, the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that resulted in the cancelation of the NCAA tournament and other spring sports forced Chris Del Conte to announce significant personnel changes and cost-cutting measures.
“After a great deal of discussion, thought and holding off as long as we could, with the closing of our fiscal year on Monday, we unfortunately had to make some very difficult decisions when it came to dedicated staff,” Del Conte wrote in his weekly newsletter, Forty Acres Insider.
Texas was able to save close to $20 million with the cost-containment measures that were implemented back in the spring, but those efforts alone weren’t enough to mitigate the full damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. The athletic department also made other changes, including “reducing team and department operating expenses, regionalizing team travel, reducing capital project expenditures, fully integrating the Erwin Center operations within the department and deferring a principal debt payment that totaled savings in excess of $21.3 million.”
Unfortunately, Texas also made personnel changes in the athletic department, including the elimination of 35 vacant positions. Additionally, 35 staff members were laid off, 11 more were furloughed with benefits, and 26 coaches and administrators accepted temporary salary reductions, along with 273 staff members who agreed to the same. Those decisions resulted in $13.1 million in savings.
“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,” Del Conte wrote. “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. Those are our expectations, and we know they are yours, too. So, we must stay positive and unite as one as we take on the days, weeks and months to come with vigor, enthusiasm, and resiliency.”