STORRS, Conn. (AP) – The University of Connecticut has decided to eliminate four sports teams as it addresses an expected budget deficit due to problems related to the coronavirus pandemic.
UConn President Thomas Katsouleas told the school’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday that the school will reduce the amount of sports it supports from 22 to 18, eliminating its cross country, men’s swimming and driving, men’s tennis and female oar.
He said eliminating those programs, along with demanding a 15% cut in the operating budget for all sports and cutting some scholarships, should result in a requested savings of $ 10 million, or 25% of the school’s subsidy to the Division. Athletics in the next three years. That grant was $ 42 million in 2019.
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The school will continue to support eliminated sports during the 2020-21 academic year, giving athletes time to transfer or make other decisions, authorities said.
“While this is a painful decision, it is in the best interest of UConn’s long-term viability and UConn athletics,” said Katsouleas.
That move came when the Board of Trustees approved a $ 1.5 billion spending plan for its main campus at Storrs and regional campuses, with the expectation that it will need to review the budget multiple times this year to deal with deficiencies related to the coronavirus.
The school’s chief financial officer, Scott Jordan, forecast a deficit of between $ 47 and $ 129 million, depending on when and how the school reopens from the pandemic and whether it will face cuts in support from the legislature, which deals with coronaviruses. . state budget deficit.
“We are planning a deficit of about $ 50 million,” said Katsouleas.
The school is planning a reopening of August 31 for the fall semester, but the board also approved a plan that will allow fees, such as room and board, to be adjusted based on the services that can be offered on campus.
“The university is developing plans to densensify classrooms and residences, and this will require offering students the option to take some or all of their classes online,” Jordan said in a memo to the board. “If they choose this option, they may not take advantage of some of the traditional student service offerings that are paid for with student fees, such as the Recreation Center or the shuttle bus system.”
The board spent nearly an hour and a half listening to former athletes who asked to save their sports.
Athletics students have pledged more than $ 1.6 million for that program. The men’s golf alumni said they could contribute $ 900,000 in the next five years.
Rowing coach Jennifer Sanford told the board that she was not informed of the decision to phase out her sport until Tuesday afternoon, giving her little time to obtain support.
“This decision will be a surprise to many, because very few saw it coming,” he said. “If approved, the University of Connecticut will be the only Division I rowing program in the country that has been cut.”
The school announced Tuesday that it would reduce non-union managers’ pay through permits and cancel their merit increases.
Katsouleas wrote in a recent letter to managers that most non-union managers will be suspended for the equivalent of one day a month in the new fiscal year beginning July 1. This would result in a salary reduction of just under 5% for the year.
Katsouleas said he and other top executives with the highest salary will take the equivalent of two days of leave per month, which is equivalent to a 10% pay cut. He said he is also asking for union concessions, but did not say what they would be.
Similar permits are planned at UConn Health. The board also approved a six-month, $ 645.4 million spending plan for the medical school and hospital in lieu of an annual budget, due to similar fiscal uncertainty caused by the pandemic.