Iowa AD Gary Barta announces $15 million in budget reductions, plan assumes football and basketball seasons will be played with fans

The reductions includes nearly $13 million in reduced operating expenses, with the remaining cuts in compensation adjustments.


Jenna Galligan

Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta speaks at a press conference on Monday, June 15 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Barta addressed recent action within the Iowa Athletic Department, including the separation agreement with Chris Doyle, as well as plans for the future.

Robert Read, Sports Editor

Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta announced in a news release Tuesday that, as part of the University of Iowa’s plan to mitigate the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the athletics department will see budget reductions of approximately $15 million for the 2021 fiscal year.

The athletics department budget for the 2020 fiscal year was $124.8 million. The 2020-21 budget was anticipated to be $127.5 million before the reductions. With the reductions in compensation and operations, the department’s 2021 budget proposal will be $112.5 million.

The $15 million in reductions includes nearly $13 million in reduced operating expenses, with the remaining in compensation adjustments.

The current reductions assume complete football and men’s and women’s basketball seasons with fans in attendance. Any interruptions in these seasons would lead to more significant cuts, according to the release.

“None of this is easy for our coaches and staff. I appreciate their continued understanding in these uncertain times,” Barta said in a release. “The pandemic has dealt us a financial situation that requires difficult decisions. It is our responsibility to maintain a fiscally responsible operation while providing the highest level of service to our student-athletes.”

Iowa’s top-earning head coaches Lisa Bluder, Tom Brands, Kirk Ferentz, and Fran McCaffery have all voluntarily agreed to a one-year, 15-percent base salary reduction or contribution back to the athletics department. Deputy Athletics Director Barbara Burke has agreed to a 25-percent salary reduction, while Barta has reduced his total compensation package by more than 30 percent.

Reductions in compensation will also be seen across the rest of the department.

Professional and scientific, non-contracted, staff will see one-year salary reductions based on a graduated salary reduction scale. In general, staff earning above $200,000 will see a 10-percent base salary reduction, staff making $150,000-$199,999 a 7.5-percent reduction, salaries of $100,000-$149,999 a 5-percent reduction, $50,143-$99,999 a 3-percent reduction, and staff making below $50,143 a 2-percent salary reduction, according to the release

“I care deeply about our staff and recognize a reduction in salary will have a significant impact on many families throughout the department,” Barta said in a release. “I want to thank our entire staff for their support and understanding as we have worked through this process. We are trying to balance making necessary financial cuts with spreading the sacrifice thoughtfully.”

Merit employees will participate in the budget reduction process through utilization of unpaid leave days in either six or eight-day increments. Contracted employees were asked to participate in a voluntary salary reduction or contribution back to the department, according to the release

“These are challenging times with significant uncertainty,” Barta said in a release. “We are grateful for the loyal and generous support of our fans and appreciate knowing they are with us as we face this adversity.”