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UVa announces athletic department layoffs amid pandemic

UVa announces athletic department layoffs amid pandemic

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The University of Virginia announced Friday that will it be reducing staffing levels in the athletics department due to budget shortfalls created in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the staff cuts, the UVa athletic program also will not fill several open positions. The school did not reveal how many staff positions would be cut or how many open positions would not be filled in its announcement.

“These are incredibly painful decisions," Virginia athletics director Carla Williams said in a release announcing the cuts, "but they are, unfortunately, a necessary part of an overall strategy to address the financial challenges we face.”

Virginia has not revealed how much its current budget shortfall is, but the financial challenges to the athletics program that have caused by the pandemic are evident.

UVa has been unable to sell tickets to any sporting events during the 2020-21 athletic year, including revenue drivers football and men's basketball, costing the program potentially millions of dollars in revenue.

Additionally, the athletics department has had to take on the additional costs of having its athletes receive COVID-19 testing three times per week during their athletic seasons, per ACC mandates, as well as for enhanced sanitation and safety measures for athletes and staff.

The staff reductions are the latest move by the UVa athletics department to help offset its budget shortfall. In May, the school announced that more than 70 athletics department staff members, including all 20 head coaches, Williams and 51 assistant coaches, were taking voluntary pay reductions ranging from 5% to 10% that began in mid-April until the end of 2020.

Whether those staff members will continue to take pay cuts during 2021 was not immediately clear.

“We have a very dedicated staff and the evidence of that dedication and shared sacrifice has been at the forefront during this pandemic," Williams said. "Despite these challenges, the priority remains delivering championship opportunities for our coaches and student-athletes."

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