Athletics director, coaches take pay reduction

NCAA has granted additional year of eligibility for student athletes; less than half will return next year, Chun said



Athletic Director Pat Chun said it is still too early to make a decision about the start of spring football practices.

CODY SCHOELER, Evergreen reporter

WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun announced Monday that head football coach Nick Rolovich, head basketball coach Kyle Smith and himself would be taking a five percent salary reduction through the 2020-2021 academic year.

Chun said the reductions were voluntary and come on the heels of WSU President Kirk Schulz taking the same reduction in salary.

“[The cuts were] a testament to Nick and Kyle and really all of our coaches because as we started talking about making adjustments to next year, everyone was willing to do what they needed to do to help contribute to the greater good,” Chun said.

He said they do not know how much of a loss of revenue they will experience, referring to it as a “moving target.” He said the NCAA announced there would be a reduction in their distribution of finances and the Pac-12 has yet to decide if they will go into their reserves.

“We’re planning ahead and just trying to make sure that we’re in a position to have these conversations now,” Chun said. “We have every expectation that things are going to look different heading into next year, so that’s why we’re just being proactive and putting some of these cost containment efforts in place.”

The NCAA has granted an additional year of eligibility for spring student athletes and Chun said they are estimating that a little under half of the senior student athletes will return next year.

“We’ve always wanted to do what’s best for our student athletes,” he said. “For some of them it’s coming back here, for some of them it’s moving on to whatever endeavor they have in life.”

He said the athletic department is working on finding ways to fund the extra scholarships. A press release issued on Monday from Chun’s office said they are “estimating an additional $300,000 in athletic grant-in-aid costs” for the 2021 fiscal year.

“If we’re in a position where we can help [student athletes] achieve their goals at Washington State for another year then we’ll do our best to help them accomplish those goals,” Chun said.

He said it is still too early to make a decision about the start of spring football practices. They are abiding by the guidelines set forth by Gov. Jay Inslee for now. The health and safety of the student athletes is the number one priority, he said.

He said the department is preparing for the different possibilities regarding the football season from a budgeting standpoint but they are unsure of what that will look like.

“I think at this point there’s just too many unknowns and too many uncertainties,” he said. “As we try to figure out what a budget looks like, we’re just trying to factor in as many possibilities out there.”