With COVID 19 cases on the rise in the United States, college athletic departments across the country are finding themselves in a budgeting catastrophe.
Georgia Tech athletics is no exception. The school isn’t in any trouble quite yet. However, the Jackets athletic department let the public know where exactly they plan to cut costs. Todd Stansbury, Georgia Tech’s athletic director, recently said the department has to cut costs by $16 million this year. Last year, athletics spent $91 million.
This year they are saving money on the recruiting process for new athletes. In addition, the school is forced to save money because traveling often is not allowed with COVID-19. They also have shortened some sport’s seasons due to the virus. That in itself is helping the department get back some of the cash that’s been lost. Another way they are making money is by their “Support the Swarm” campaign. They’re asking game-goers to donate $100 to the department. In exchange, the game attendants get two free masks. Priority points are also given out for larger donations. $1.7 million has already been donated.
What exactly can we blame for these financial woes? The biggest impact, believe it or not, has been less revenue coming in from ticket sales. With the limited capacity rules for football games in place, the school has seen a decline in cash flow. Although this is only temporary, fans can only hope that the department can run itself without much income for now. Some of the $91 million budget last year went toward building the new women’s basketball locker room and renovations at Russ Chandler Stadium. It’s quite possible that the athletic department wishes they had held off on these renovations. These facilities most likely won’t be able to be used until a vaccine for the virus is made.
Other schools affected by the virus also have struggling athletic departments. Take West Virginia, for example. They reported a five-million-dollar loss. On the west coast, The University of California at Berkeley is looking at a $55 million dollar budget deficit without football. In addition, they have been forced to pay for costly precautionary measures. They spent $100,000 on sanitation for sprayers to hopefully slow down the spread. Minnesota saw a $four million dollar deficit at the end of its fiscal year on June 30. These schools have chosen to save money by cutting the salaries of coaches and department heads. Georgia Tech Athletics reportedly has not planned on doing this or implementing lay-offs.
Although it looks bad now, the Yellow Jackets will most likely bounce back easily from this pandemic and move on. The school offers the highest level of scholarship endowments for college athletes in the area, so it’s likely that scholarship- based student-athletes won’t be affected. Georgia Tech just needs to continue to fundraise with their alumni. It should be noted that alumni who are CEOs of companies like Coca- Cola, Delta Airlines, and AT&T, reaching financial goals shouldn’t be too difficult.