The coronavirus fallout is forcing many schools across the country to tighten their athletic budgets. The University of Northern Iowa is one of over two dozen schools to announce some sort of salary reductions to athletics employees.

UNI Director of Athletics David Harris announced Thursday that he's taking a voluntary pay cut through the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, along with head coaches, senior staff and other select staff. The fiscal year ends June 30.

Harris and the head coaches of UNI's five ticketed sports -- football (Mark Farley), men's basketball (Ben Jacobson), women's basketball (Tanya Warren), volleyball (Bobbi Petersen) and wrestling (Doug Schwab) -- will take a 10-percent salary reduction for May and June. Senior staff members, other head coaches and select staff members have also taken salary reductions for May and June.

In a press release, Harris said the salary reductions will help the UNI athletics department reduce a deficit created by a decrease in expected NCAA distributions this spring after the cancelation of the NCAA winter championships because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other unexpected losses include rental revenue from events hosted in the UNI-Dome and McLeod Center.

"I am proud to do my part and proud of our head coaches and staff members that have stepped up to help our department address these unprecedented circumstances," Harris said. "Our priority is the welfare and success of our student-athletes and these temporary and voluntary cuts help us align our fiscal reality with our departmental goals."

UNI Athletics Logo
Source: UNI Athletics

The pay cuts are just part of the cost-saving measures that are being used by the department to reduce losses, including a hiring and spending freeze and cutting energy usage in athletic facilities with most employees working from home. According to Harris, UNI athletics is considering additional cost-saving measures for the fiscal year 2020-2021 and those decisions will be announced at a later date.

"There are a lot of questions yet to be answered," Harris said. "We don't know the entire path ahead of us, but we will continue to put our student-athletes first. We will do everything that we can to assure their success in every facet."

The department will continue to act aggressively to remain in solid financial standing with more NCAA distribution shortcomings on the horizon and the length and total impact of the pandemic still unknown.

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