Barry Alvarez

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Notre Dame, Wisconsin both hope to make Lambeau Field game happen in the future

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One of the casualties of the Big Ten’s decision this week involved Notre Dame and Wisconsin.  Both schools, though, are hopeful their unique venue will be a go for the future.

In 2017, it was announced that Notre Dame and Wisconsin had agreed to a home-and-home series, but with a neutral-field twist.  The 2020 game was scheduled to be a “home” game for the Fighting Irish in primetime at Lambeau Field.  The 2021 would see the Badgers “hosting” the football independent at Soldier Field.

Thursday, however, the Big Ten announced that, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the league will be going to a conference-only schedule for 2020.  That, of course, means that the Notre Dame-Wisconsin game at the home of the Green Bay Packers has been nixed.

In statements following the B1G announcement, each athletic director was hopeful for a future matchup on the Frozen Tundra.

“We all share in the disappointment about that and are exploring options to reschedule those games,” Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez said in his statement. “We look forward to playing Notre Dame in 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, and both programs are committed to rescheduling the game at Lambeau.”

”We look forward to playing Wisconsin at Soldier Field in 2021 and Barry and I are committed to scheduling a game at Lambeau Field in the future,” Alvarez’s counterpart, Jack Swarbrick, said in his.

Wisconsin has played previously at the fabled NFL stadium.  In 2016, UW knocked off LSU 16-14 at Lambeau.

”The University of Notre Dame has informed the Packers that the game scheduled for Oct. 3 at Lambeau Field has been canceled due to the pandemic and the Big Ten Conference reducing their schedule to conference-only games,” the NFL club said in a statement. “While we are disappointed with the game’s cancellation, we completely understand and respect the decision.

“We are very hopeful to reschedule the game in the future. The Packers are proud to host such games at Lambeau Field and, with the community, experience the incredible atmosphere surrounding college football.

“We also are proud to be a part of Greater Green Bay’s enthusiastic reception of both schools and their fans for an exciting weekend of football and related activities. We appreciate the economic impact it brings to our community and we look forward to hosting future college football games at Lambeau Field.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including former Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen dies at 38

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 3, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Former Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen dies at 38
THE SYNOPSIS: The loss of the Hefty Lefty at such a young age sent a jolt through Big Blue Nation.

2015

THE HEADLINE: PETA investigated two (Michigan) Wolverines and a wallaby
THE SYNOPSIS: PETA, the bane of college football fans across the country.  And schools.  Like Colorado.  And Mississippi State. And Georgia.  And Texas.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Kirby Smart: Alabama didn’t value OSU QB Cardale Jones enough
THE SYNOPSIS: This was one of the more head-scratching admissions of any offseason.  ‘Bama had a month to prepare for Jones, who had a breakout game in the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Clemson tweaks South Carolina in tweet
THE SYNOPSIS: In November of 2014, Clemson snapped a five-game losing streak to South Carolina.  Since then, the Tigers have won six straight in the rivalry.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Barry Alvarez: Tide turned down shot at series with Badgers
THE SYNOPSIS: Three years later, Alabama and Wisconsin squared off in a one-off neutral-site affair.

Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst to take temporary 15% reduction in pay

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Go ahead and add the Wisconsin head football coach to the burgeoning list of athletics officials taking a financial hit.

The university Saturday morning announced that the athletics department “intends to implement a compensation and work reduction plan to include most of its employees in an effort to manage financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.” As one of Wisconsin athletics’ highest-earning employees, football coach Paul Chryst will take a 15% reduction in pay over the next six months.

According to the USA Today coaches salary database, Chryst made $4.15 million in 2019.  That figure was ninth in the Big Ten.

UW athletic director Barry Alvarez and head men’s basketball coach Greg Gard will take the same 15% pay cut.

“Reducing compensation and work hours is obviously not something I want to see for any of our Badger Athletics family,” Alvarez said in a statement. “But we are facing the same financial challenges that other organizations across the country are. We are working hard to minimize the impact on our employees while responding to the realities of the situation created by the pandemic.

“I greatly appreciate our highest earners’ willingness to consider voluntarily accepting a temporary reduction in pay, as well as the rest of our staff who are sharing in this exercise by reducing their hours to help us navigate our way through these unprecedented times.”

Wisconsin is the fourth Big Ten school to make such a cut.  The others are Michigan, Minnesota and Rutgers.

Below is a partial list of FBS programs that have initiated various cost-cutting measures for athletic department personnel, including coaches:

Additionally, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who reportedly made north of $5 million a year ago, is taking a 20% pay cut.  Scott’s Big 12 counterpart, Bob Bowlsby, announced pay cuts for himself and the conference’s staff.

Barry Alvarez says Wisconsin can handle temporary revenue dip from COVID-19

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As schools around the country are making necessary adjustments to the budgets and pay structures for coaches and other officials due to the financial impact of COVID-19, Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez says Wisconsin is in relatively good shape.

In a meeting with the Wisconsin athletic board, Alvarez reportedly said the university is bracing to take a net revenue drop of $4 to $5 million in the current fiscal year. All things considered, and compared to a number of other universities and programs around the country, that doesn’t sound all that bad. Of course, that only accounts for the athletics department and not the university as a whole, which is likely much more significant.

Regardless, Alvarez credits years of fiscal responsibility at Wisconsin allowing the Badgers to weather the impact the coronavirus outbreak has ha don the financial standing of the University of Wisconsin.

“Thanks to sound management of our finances over the years, we’re well-positioned to withstand a temporary decline in revenues,” Alvarez said, according to Wisconsin State Journal.

That’s always encouraging to see. Perhaps a bit surprising given the headlines involving what’s happening with pay for coaches lately, Wisconsin is following through on paying any bonuses coaches have been eligible for. The board has voted to provide the authority to handle contract extensions and bonuses for winter and spring sports seasons. That group doesn’t impact the football program and head coach Paul Chryst, but it is a somewhat interesting development given Wisconsin recently decided not to grant extra years of eligibility to spring and winter sports athletes…

It’s also worth noting, according to the Wisconsin State Journal report, that Alvarez believes other Big Ten members are doing the same with regard to bonus incentives.