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Penn State Athletics Implementing Department-Wide Pay Cuts

Penn State Athletics will cut employee salaries to make up for revenue shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesperson confirmed Monday night.

The athletic department affirmed the pay cuts in a statement Monday night but did not provide details on how significant cuts will be for specific employees.

“Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics has analyzed its budget and revenue shortfalls for the 2020-21 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Athletics said. “As a result of our analysis and based on our current financial circumstances, we made the difficult decision to make reductions in salaries across the department for this fiscal year.”

Athletics added the savings from these pay cuts, paired with a decreased operating budget, should help minimize project revenue shorfalls. reported the cuts will be made on a scale from 5% as the lowest to 10% for some of the highest-earning employees of the department. Salary cuts will not be made for those below a certain earning threshold.

Vice president for intercollegiate athletics Sandy Barbour indicated earlier this month that pay cuts were on the table for the entire department. As July 1 stands as the end of the fiscal year for Penn State Athletics, Barbour said that while this past year was a challenge, the department still managed to have a “really good year.”

Despite that, Barbour explained eventual pay cuts were “unavoidable.”

“We probably need to do that,” Barbour explained on July 1. “We’ll do that within the next few weeks. As it relates to avoiding it, as you can imagine as we look at reduced crowds in Beaver Stadium, reduced crowds in Pegula and the BJC, Rec Hall, and others of our venues, that we are looking at significant reductions in terms of those revenues.”

In that same press conference earlier this month, Barbour explained that athletics was looking into several “operational ways” to make up for its lost revenue and reduce costs.

According to a report by, Barbour herself will take a pay cut for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Barbour’s latest contract extension was approved in February 2019. The deal earns her an average of $1,269,000 per year plus up to $260,000 in performance bonuses.

Along with tuition freezes and lowered room and board rates, Penn State’s total university budget for 2020-2021 had a total deficit of $125.7 million. Within that deficit, athletics is expected to experience a $5 million decrease in revenue from 2019-2020.

It’s currently unclear how many coaches have taken voluntary pay cuts for the upcoming fiscal year. Currently, Penn State has 31 varsity teams competing at the Division I level, with football as the highest earner.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a junior majoring in digital and print journalism and is Onward State's sports editor. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]


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