Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said Thursday that the school’s athletic department will lose more than $100 million if the 2020 football season is wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.
Alvarez wrote a letter to Wisconsin fans that was posted on the school’s website detailing the plight.
“Regardless of what our fall season looks like, we are facing a great financial challenge,” Alvarez wrote. “I don’t think it’s an embellishment to say the experience we love as Badgers and the legacy of our extraordinary athletic department is at risk.”
The projected revenue loss is between $60 million and $70 million if a Big Ten-only, 10-game slate is played, according to reports.
Alvarez said the operating budget is currently $140 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
“I believe we will reach a monumental crossroads in the coming days,” Alvarez wrote. “We will have two choices: remain at the head of the class or fall behind. Everything we pride ourselves on — competing at the highest level, developing world-class student-athletes and raising trophies — relies on our ability to financially support our student-athletes.”
In May, Alvarez, football coach Paul Chryst and men’s basketball coach Greg Gard accepted 15-percent pay cuts.
Chryst made $4.15 million last season, according to USA Today’s football coaches salary database. Gard made $2.45 million according to the same entity’s college basketball salary research, while Alvarez makes a reported $1.55 million.
The school also has paused a $77 million renovation of Camp Randall Stadium, while cutting back travel and not making hires.
“These steps have allowed us to avoid the tough decisions other schools have already had to make, like eliminating sports or laying off employees,” Alvarez wrote. “We have taken many steps, but we will have to do much more.”