FSU to slash athletics budget by 20 percent

Florida State has cut 25 full-time positions from athletics and the boosters and must slash 20 percent from the 2020-21 budget, athletics director David Coburn said in a statement on Friday.

FSU’s athletics budget in 2019-20 was $108 million, which means more than $21 million must be stripped away through salary cuts, travel expenses and other means. Head coaches have taken “significant salary reductions.”

Football coach Mike Norvell took a 25 percent cut while basketball coaches Leonard Hamilton and Sue Semrau each took cuts of about 15 percent, a source told the Osceola. Coburn accepted a 20 percent cut.

“You should know that our head coaches have been remarkably gracious in this effort,” Coburn said. “All of them have taken significant salary reductions, led by coach Norvell, coach Hamilton and coach Semrau.”

Coburn cited the COVID-19 pandemic as well as lagging football season ticket sales and donations to the Seminole Boosters’ annual fund as reasons for the financial difficulties. He also mentioned the change in the football coaching staff – Willie Taggart’s massive buyout – as one of the reasons. Taggart is expected to receive a buyout of $4.25 million (85 percent of his scheduled FSU salary), minus the amount Florida Atlantic pays. It’s not known if FAU has installed a salary cut for Taggart.

FSU’s salary reductions include a 10 percent cut for employees making $150,000 or more, a 7.5 percent reduction for employees making between $72,000 and $149,999 and a 5 percent reduction for employees making between $43,000 and $71,999.

Furloughs, in addition to the salary cuts, also remain a “strong possibility,” Coburn stated.

The 2020-21 athletics season won’t officially begin until at least Sept. 1, the first day the ACC allows games to be played (teams can practice in July and August). That will mean sports like soccer, volleyball and cross country will start later than normal; FSU soccer typically kicks off in mid-August.

ACC football is slated to start on Sept. 2, with FSU kicking off against West Virginia on Sept. 5. The ACC will make a determination on the start of football as well as fall sports later in July.

“The probability that the upcoming athletic seasons will be affected in some way by the pandemic exists,” Coburn said. “While we have been able to withstand most of the economic impact from the lost revenue this spring, the anticipated drop in revenue this fall will be damaging.”

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