ECU athletics to temporarily furlough staff, reduce salaries

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 4:08 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The ECU athletic department will be temporarily furloughing some employees and implementing salary reductions for its entire staff, ECU Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert announced Monday in his “From The Helm” online message forum to Pirate Nation.

Here is Gilbert’s letter released Monday on

Pirate Nation:

As we head into the fall, I want to update you on our financial forecast. Our athletic department continues to face significant financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Universities and athletic departments across the country are making difficult financial decisions and ECU Athletics is no different. We are projecting a sizable deficit for the 2020-21 fiscal year due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty of the 2020 football season complicates the projections. All revenue streams continue to be impacted and our total deficit remains fluid due to limited football attendance and amount of home games played.

The manner in which we are operating is not sustainable. We must find different ways to increase revenue and reduce our expenses.

We are implementing temporary furloughs or salary reductions for our entire athletics staff. Furloughs will be effective November 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Coaches and staff members, based on their annual salary, will be taking temporary salary reductions/furloughs effective November 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. The following actions will be taken:

  • Football and men’s basketball head coaches will have their base salaries temporarily reduced by 20 percent.
  • Baseball and women’s basketball head coaches will have their base salaries temporarily reduced by 15 percent.
  • Coaches and staff members making greater than or equal to $100,000 will have their salaries reduced by 12 percent.
  • Coaches and staff members making $50,000 to $99,999 will have their salaries temporarily reduced by 10 percent.
  • Coaches and staff members making below $50,000 will be furloughed for 12 days.
  • A group of employees will be on an extended furlough ranging from six weeks to 35 weeks.

These were not easy decisions but necessary ones as we continue to manage our budget for this year and future years. Decisions that impact our staff financially coupled with the pandemic can affect the well-being of each staff member. I hold our staff in the highest regard and I sympathize for all of them as we work to offset our financial losses and navigate a path to sustainability.

The entire athletics staff recently completed five furlough days as part of our announced plan in May to reduce our deficit by $4.7 million. This plan also included the elimination of several vacant positions, the reduction of sponsored sports and the decrease of operating budgets for our sports programs and administrative areas.

All of our financial reductions over the last five months will not be enough to overcome our deficit. We will continue to search for more efficient ways to do business to stabilize our budget.

We are continuing to play sports, support our student-athletes and do everything possible to give them a chance to compete at the highest level. While football is the only sport currently in season, the Pirates men’s and women’s basketball teams will begin in late November. Due to the pandemic, several sports moved to spring competition, therefore, volleyball, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, track and field, and both men’s and women’s golf will all be competing at the same time.

While we are amid unprecedented times, I choose to remain positive and hope Pirate Nation will rally around our student-athletes and coaches. We are committed to moving forward with dedicated staff, a terrific group of student-athletes and coaches who believe in our ability to be successful.

We appreciate your continued support and we will continue to work to make you proud to be a Pirate.

Go Pirates!


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