Ohio State Buckeyes project $107M deficit for fiscal 2021

Ohio State's athletic department is projecting a $107 million deficit for fiscal year 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, prompting department-wide budget cuts and the elimination of 25 full-time positions.

The school will not eliminate any of its 36 varsity programs and will continue to fund all scholarships and athlete resources as part of a $180 million budget. The deficit for fiscal year 2021 does not include media rights revenue that will be determined by the Big Ten and its television partners.

The Big Ten last week announced that a nine-game fall football season will begin the weekend of Oct. 23-24. Ohio State is set to open at home against Nebraska on Oct. 24.

Ohio State projects to save $7 million from a combination of furloughs, salary reductions and the elimination of positions. Although "virtually every employee" will be impacted, according to a news release, Ohio State will not furlough its four employees in the sports psychology and wellness group.

Football coach Ryan Day and men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann are among the department employees who will take 5% salary cuts, according to athletic director Gene Smith.

Other reductions include $9.6 million from a short-term debt restructure, $6.1 million from sports' operating budgets, $3.4 million in football game-day expenses and $3 million in nonconference game guarantees. Budget cuts before fiscal year 2021 -- which included a hiring freeze, no merit salary increases and a pause on some facilities projects -- saved $5.6 million.

The school's revenue projection of $73 million for fiscal year 2021, described as "conservative" in a news release, includes $28.6 million in development and $13.4 million from NCAA and Big Ten basketball tournaments, as well as football bowl game revenue.

"Our student-athletes are our primary responsibility," Smith said in a prepared statement. "They have and will continue to come first. We have put together a responsible and conservative budget for this fiscal year, which assumes full support for our student-athletes. In the midst of this devastating pandemic, we remain committed to providing a safe and excellent academic and athletic experience for all of our student-athletes."