UConn cuts 4 sports teams as university deals with $50 million budget shortfall

Coronavirus

STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) — The University of Connecticut has announced it’s making major budget cuts, including furloughs and cutting funding for some university sports teams.

The University announced Tuesday it is furloughing most of its managers and canceling pay raises for non-union managers due to the coronavirus pandemic’s financial impact.

Even with relief through the CARES Act, the university believes it will see at least a $50 million shortfall. The Board of Trustees has proposed a $10 million budget cut for the university Wednesday morning.

Beginning in July and continuing through the 2021 fiscal year, most non-union managers will be furloughed without pay for one day a month. This comes to a pay reduction of just under 5% annually, UConn said. Those in senior leadership positions will take two furlough days a month, reducing pay by around 10% annually.

Most non-union managers, including at UConn Health, will not see pay raises that were previously budgeted to be consistent with SEBAC-negotiated raises for unionized employees.

The University President announced Wednesday the University will no longer sponsor men’s cross country, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, and women’s rowing after the 20-21 academic year. This would affect 124 student-athletes.

“I feel for the cross country, men’s cross country, men’s swimming and diving, and even the women’s rowing of course Beyond just men’s tennis because we are all in this together,” said Angelo Rossetti, 92 UConn Varsity Tennis Player.

Right now, the university has 24 varsity sports. That’s eight more than what is required to keep its Division I status. The athletic department will also reduce scholarships for men’s golf and men’s track and field teams.

UConn alumni have been active since it was learned that sports were in jeopardy and the athletic director would be forced to make cuts. Golf and track alumni have come together to get pledges and raise a significant amount of money to keep those programs alive. 

“I do empathize with the University of Connecticut because it was a very tough decision you can tell. And I know right now with Covid there are so many challenges, not just locally but nationally and globally. And you have to make short-term sacrifice for long-term gains,” said Rossetti.

If the University sees an improvement in its financial situation there is a chance they may cancel or reduce the number of planned furlough days for managers.

The board is still meeting and has not yet approved the budget, but the decision has officially been made to cut sponsorship of the four sports teams. The University will also unveil reopening plans for the fall.

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