Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock on Thursday announced cost-saving measures to help offset significant department budget shortfalls caused by the impact of COVID-19. Through salary reductions, financial contributions, and efficiencies, Virginia Tech Athletics expects to return nearly $15 million into its budget to manage through the challenges of the coming 2021 fiscal year and beyond.

“No collegiate athletics department has been spared from the harsh financial reality of revenue shortfalls directly attributable to COVID-19,” Babcock said. “At Virginia Tech, home football and basketball games, especially, are significant sources of revenue and support all of our varsity sports programs. Although we’ve had to make some very difficult decisions, we are more fortunate than others in being able to keep our commitment to all varsity athletics programs and our student-athletes.”

In recent months, Virginia Tech Athletics has taken proactive and ongoing measures through operational cuts and reductions in overtime, as well as keeping select position vacancies open, in order to achieve budget savings. In addition, numerous employees have voluntarily returned or forgone benefits, such as car stipends and performance bonuses. Generous donors have also stepped up with personal gifts to the Hokie Club through a variety of means. However, the severity of COVID-19’s impact required the department to undertake a strategic review and consider additional measures to offset the short-term financial impact of the pandemic.

“We deeply appreciate the leadership of President Sands and his team, the Board of Visitors, as well as our Tech Athletics staff, for their willingness to help us manage through this unprecedented situation,” he continued. “We’re also incredibly grateful for our Hokie Club donors and others who have generously continued to support Tech Athletics throughout a challenging 2020. We have asked many others to sacrifice, and we too must do our part.”

Like many other collegiate athletics programs across the country, Tech Athletics plans to implement a multi-tiered compensation reduction plan. Beginning in January 2021 and ending in December 2021, individuals making $115,000 or more will see a 10 percent salary reduction, while a sliding percentage scale will be adopted for those making more than $40,000.

“We‘re all in this together,” Babcock said. “We worked hard to develop a plan that was equitable across the board while protecting as many employees as possible in lower compensation brackets. Importantly, no individual making $40,000 or less will be impacted by our salary reduction plans.” 

The department is also making operational reductions when possible, has made a small reduction in workforce, and will continue to work with university officials to continue streamlining operations moving forward in alignment with university policies and procedures.  

All athletics staff members have been informed about the impact of COVID-19 on the department’s budget and the cost-savings measures.