Texas Longhorns athletic director Chris Del Conte looks on during pregame of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas Texas on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. [RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Athletics

Texas will pay back coaches who are taking salary reductions due to pandemic

Posted October 5th, 2020

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Football head coach Tom Herman and other coaches at the University of Texas are taking salary reductions. That is until they all get the money back.

Documents obtained Monday by USA TODAY Sports show the athletics department plans to reimburse coaches who are taking voluntary pay cuts during the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Dozens of other public schools have negotiated pay reductions with their coaches as they attempt to work through financial problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most have put those terms in writing. Among the documents reviewed by USA TODAY Sports up to now, Texas’ are the first to provide for the repayment of reductions.

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In a lengthy statement posted on Texas’ athletics website on Sept. 1, athletics director Chris Del Conte announced that budget pressure caused by the pandemic had prompted the department to take a series of actions “necessary to ensure our financial stability going forward.” The moves included layoffs, furloughs, permanent elimination of vacant positions and pay reductions across the department.

The announcement said that 26 coaches and administrators who are working under contracts “voluntarily agreed to take temporary salary reductions” beginning Sept. 1 and running through Aug. 31, 2021.

The documents obtained Monday through an open-records request, are contract amendments that specify each of those coach’s reduction terms. Each amendment includes the amount the coach had been scheduled to receive during the fiscal year, the amount they now will receive and a commitment that the university agrees to pay the difference “prior to the expiration of the Agreement.”

In September, Texas officials announced Longhorn coaches would be taking pay cuts this year due to the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on the athletics budget. Head football coach Tom Herman will be paid back the $516,250 he was docked sometime before the end of 2023. [JAY JANNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

In the case of football head coach Tom Herman, this means Texas will pay him $516,250 sometime before Dec. 31, 2023. Herman’s reduction is being taken against his base salary of $3.5 million only, the documents confirm. Herman is scheduled to receive another $2.5 million as consideration for making personal appearances and participating in various media activities.

One football assistant coach will not have to wait nearly as long as will Herman to get his money back. Wide receivers coach Andre Coleman is working under a one-year contract that is set to end Jan. 31, 2021.

The other football assistant coaches are under contract through either March 31, 2022 or March 31, 2023.

“We had a one-year COVID problem,” Del Conte said in an interview Monday. “These coaches, we had a contractual obligation, and I asked them if I could reduce their salary for this amount of money. They said yes, because they knew I had to honor that because we had a contract.

“It’s a one-year problem, and we’ll make it work.”

The amendment covering Del Conte’s reduction — $309,250 — does not include the repayment language. “It was just a personal decision,” he said.

Three football assistant coaches — Jay Boulware, Stan Drayton and Oscar Giles — are not participating in the voluntary reductions.

Texas’ athletics department perennially has one of the nation’s largest annual operating revenue and expense totals. In 2019 and each of the previous two fiscal years, it has generated more than $214 million in revenue, according financial reports to the NCAA compiled by USA TODAY Sports in partnership with Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. The fiscal 2019 data are most recent available.

Texas exceeded $204 million in expenses in each of the three most recent fiscal years for which data are available.

In the statement Sept. 1, Del Conte said 35 staff members were being laid off, 11 being furloughed with benefits and 273 were receiving “temporary salary reductions” from Oct. 16, 2020 through Aug. 31, 2021. Del Conte’s statement also said that 35 vacant positions were being permanently eliminated and the department was suspending the awarding of incentive bonuses.

The amendments obtained Monday state that no bonuses will be paid for achievements during the 2020-21 fiscal year.

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