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East Carolina announces major cuts; some employees face 35-week furloughs

The global COVID-19 pandemic took another pound of flesh Monday from the ranks of collegiate athletics.

East Carolina Athletics Director Jon Gilbert announced an impending round of furloughs that begin Nov. 1, 2020, and are scheduled to run through June 30, 2021 for the Pirates' entire athletics department staff.

Both the Pirates' head men's basketball and football coaches are slated for 20% salary reductions. For ECU football coach Mike Houston, already reportedly taking a more than $26,000 reduction, that new figure equates to $300,000 of his $1.5 million salary. Pirates basketball coach Joe Dooley will give up approximately $80,000 from his $400,000 base salary.

“We are projecting a sizable deficit for the 2020-21 fiscal year due to COVID-19,” Gilbert said in an open letter, “and the uncertainty of the 2020 football season complicates the projections. All revenue streams continue to be impacted and our total deficit remains fluid due to limited football attendance and amount of home games played.

“The manner in which we are operating is not sustainable. We must find different ways to increase revenue and reduce our expenses.”

Additionally, coaches and their staff members making $100,000 or more are having a 12% cut imposed; the $50,000-99,000 range is dealing with 10% cuts and less than $50,000 is a 12-day furlough.

The release also notes some employees are set to be furloughed for up to 35 weeks, though it does not specify the number of workers impacted by that move.

Earlier this year, near the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Gilbert announced that ECU was eliminating four NCAA sports as part of budget cuts due to the fiscal restraints; he eliminated men's and women's swimming and diving, as well as men's and women's tennis.