Oklahoma State University announces athletics personnel cuts triggered by COVID-19 crisis

WATCH - OSU athletics slashes budget with lay offs, furloughs, and pay cuts

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Oklahoma State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is undergoing immediate cuts in personnel and operating budget due to financial struggles brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, athletic director Mike Holder announced Wednesday.

The cuts announced Wednesday along with previous budget cuts and an ongoing hiring freeze are part of the plan to remove about $13 million from the university’s 2020-21 budget.

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Payroll cutbacks are expected to take place in the form of furloughs, salary reductions and layoffs and affect about 232 of the department’s 241 employees.

Sixteen of athletics' 25 employees who have contracts agreed to voluntary pay cuts, including Holder and every head coach.

"These cuts were painful and not at all based on performance, Holder says.

“They are byproducts of the unfortunate situation in which we find ourselves. I am especially thankful for the coaches that had the protection of a multi-year contract, but still volunteered to participate in the pay reductions.”

Ten employees of the department were laid off on Wednesday. Sixty-six employees will begin a furlough program on Sept. 16.

Another 151 employees are expected to see a reduction in their salaries beginning this month which will range from 2.5 percent to 25 percent -- with the department’s highest-paid employees taking the biggest cuts in pay.

OSU says the university “remains committed to protecting all student-athlete scholarships and sport programs.”

“These cuts don’t solve the problem," Holder says.

"We are still facing a budget deficit estimated to be around $30 million, which may require additional measures in the coming months. However, we exist to serve our student-athletes. Their academics, health, safety, and their ability to compete remain our top priorities and will not be compromised.”