University of Tennessee Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer said he is asking to have his own pay cut by 15% as the athletics department braces for significant losses in revenue due to COVID-19.
In a letter sent to season-ticket holders, Fulmer asked for support to help absorb the new costs and losses -- saying he has requested a pay cut after all departments cut operating budgets by 20%.
Fulmer said they are not filling vacant positions currently and are only approving "critical" spending -- saying they are going through the "painful process" of examining other cost-cutting measures.
"If we get to play football this fall (with limited attendance), our estimated revenue loss will be in the $30-40 million range. If we do not play at all, those losses could double," he said.
Fulmer said the COVID-19 measures mean UT has to forgo revenue from ticket sales, parking, donations and other sources that fund student-athlete scholarships, medical care and nutrition services, academic support, and other services.
"We cannot, and will not, lower our standards for our current and future student-athletes' academic and athletic experience, physical and personal development or our standards for recruiting at the highest level," he said.
UT announced during Gov. Bill Lee's Tuesday COVID-19 briefing that Neyland Stadium will be reduced to 25% capacity this season, meaning roughly 25,000 ticket holders will be allowed in to watch each home game.
Fulmer asked for ticket holders who aren't chosen to be part of the 25% for games to convert those tickets and donations to a gift to the Tennessee Fund. Season-ticket holders will receive an email Thursday on how to do that and what steps they will need to take to indicate the priority of which home games they would like to attend. UT said the response will help them understand the demand for tickets for each game in a reduced-capacity environment.