Fresno State furloughs auxiliary athletic employees due to severe revenue losses

Fresno State director of athletics Terry Tumey hands a student a small football after he received the Community Partner Award at Diamond Learning Center. Oct. 3, 2018. (Jose Romo/ The Collegian)

The Fresno State athletics department furloughed 60 part-time auxiliary employees in response to the vast revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a result of the significant financial impacts of COVID-19 and the university’s transition to virtual instruction this spring, the Athletic Corporation had to make a difficult decision to furlough approximately 60 part-time auxiliary employees for two months,” the university said in a statement.

The department currently supports 21 sports programs, and operating expenditures for sport operations have continued to increase in the past five years. In 2019-20, the projected expenditures were $42,731,050 — an increase from the previous year. 

Fresno State generates ticket sale revenue from primarily two sports — football and men’s basketball. In 2018-19, the Athletic Corporation earned $4,921,000 from those sport programs.

For the other 19 programs, the corporation only earned $332,500 from ticket sales.

“The university has a number of recognized auxiliary organizations that are separate 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit organizations and, as such, they are considered private employers. Other auxiliary organizations in the California State University system have had to make similar decisions given the reduction of campus operating revenues.”

The university Fall 2020 Planning Task Force had to submit a plan about fall instruction to Fresno State President Dr. Joseph I. Castro by Friday. 

Castro and his cabinet will then study and discuss the plan before announcing a decision by early June.

“This is a difficult day, and we don’t make statements in regard to personnel actions, but what we do say is we understand the impact of COVID-19 and what it has done to us,” athletics director Terry Tumey said to the Fresno Bee. “Difficult decisions are being made in order to try to address the shortfalls that we have financially and also to maintain some semblance of our offering when things do turn and come to a point it will be better for us.”

Fresno State Athletics Director Terry Tumey was not available for further comment.

At this time, there isn’t any clarity on whether the athletic department’s cutbacks will only pertain to auxiliary employees or could possibly involve future cost-cutting measures. 

In April, Castro addressed the issue of revenue loss in a conversation with The Fresno Bee. He has opposed cutbacks in the past, but he understands this may be a reality for Fresno State Athletics.

“The pandemic has already affected the university and auxiliary organization budgets,” Castro said in response to possible cutbacks. “Like other universities across the nation, we have experienced a significant loss of revenue in areas…Other options for reducing costs will be considered in the coming weeks and months.”

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