Recently announced furloughs and salary cuts will save WVU Athletics roughly $3 million, but that only offsets about 60 percent of a projected $5 million budget shortfall.
As the athletic department continues to re-evaluate its budget for the 2021 fiscal year, athletic director Shane Lyons indicated Friday that more budget cuts are coming.
While salary reductions will help the department make up a large chunk of the deficit it faces in light of major coronavirus-related revenue losses, Lyons said the next step is to make cuts to the operating budget.
“I’ll use some of our Olympic sports as an example,” Lyons said. “We’ve gone back to look at scheduling, and taking a look at non-conference, what can we do from bus trips as opposed to flying on planes? What’s more regional type of competition that we could get as opposed to flying to different spots? So, that’s just one area that we’ll be focusing on as we move forward, but our next step is looking at the overall operating budget as a whole and see where possible cuts can come about.”
There are other unknowns that could impact the budget for the next fiscal year. WVU delayed its deadline for football season ticket requests from May 1 to June 1 due to the pandemic, and that season ticket revenue will apply to the 2021 budget.
WVU could also tap into new revenue streams, specifically naming rights for athletic facilities on campus. Lyons said the department will continue to explore sponsorship rights for the WVU Coliseum, Monongalia County Ballpark and other venues.
“The naming rights opportunity and new revenue streams are always a top priority,” Lyons said. “Obviously, the biggest revenue streams are with our donors and with our ticket revenue, but we also have to think outside the box and think of future revenue streams that could be a possibility as well.”