Paul Chryst

Wisconsin football
Getty Images

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

Leave a comment

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

AP Photo/Morry Gash
Leave a comment

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.