clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arizona athletic department facing significant budget shortfall, per report

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

arizona-wildcats-coronavirus-budget-shortfall-fiscal-2020-gainey-basketball-miller-finances Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t just prevent the Arizona Wildcats sports teams from competing, it has also done some major damage to the athletic department’s balance sheet.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken is reporting that a memo went out Tuesday to department staff projecting a $7.5 million shortfall for the 2019-20 fiscal year, though that number could end up being much higher. He said the memo also indicated the department would have a hiring freeze, no raises and possibly future pay cuts.

The cancellation of the NCAA Tournament for men’s basketball means every Division I school is going to be getting less revenue passed down from college sports’ governing body. The NCAA had been scheduled to divvy up $600 million to conferences (which would pass it down to their member schools) this spring but instead announced last month it would only be paying out $225 million.

For Arizona, missing out on a large chunk of its share of that payout means an athletic department that was already on the decline financially will be even worse off.

Arizona used to have one of the most robust departments in the country, financially speaking, but in recent years those numbers have dwindled. USA Today’s annual database, which most recently included 2017-18 fiscal year numbers, had the UA 41st in total revenue with $95.9 million but its expenses were more than $103 million, with the department only finishing in the black because of a nearly $12.5 million allocation from the university itself.

It is not known if these proposed department cuts will prevent Arizona’s men’s basketball team from hiring a replacement for assistant coach Justin Gainey, who was hired away by Marquette earlier this month. Beyond that, the school’s decision to bring back spring sport seniors who were granted an extra year of eligibility could be rethought.