Wednesday, May 27, 2020

KU AD Jeff Long announces departmentwide furloughs, pay cuts

University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long is pictured in this Feb. 2, 2019, file photo.

University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long is pictured in this Feb. 2, 2019, file photo.


University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long on Wednesday announced staffwide furloughs and pay cuts for all Kansas Athletics employees, including coaches, from June 1 through the end of 2020.

An email sent to KU’s donors on Wednesday afternoon outlined four tiers of the department’s cost-cutting plan, which is based on each employee’s individual salary.

“We prolonged enacting measures that impact our people as long as we could,” Long said in the email. “But it has become clear that the across-the-board reductions were necessary for the short- and long-term financial needs of this department.”

Long added that the decision to join the reductions by KU coaches under contract was voluntary, adding that “they deserve a great amount of credit for contributing.”


The four tiers of KU's staff-wide furlough and pay cut plan, announced by AD Jeff Long on May 27, 2020.

Two of the four tiers in the plan included staff options.

Those that didn’t were for the highest and lowest paid Kansas Athletics employees.

Those making more than $300,000 per year are required to take a 10% pay cut for six months from July through December.

Those who make less than $50,000 per year will be furloughed for three full weeks from June 1 through July 25.

The employee options came in the middle two tiers, where those making between $50,000 and $299,000 annually were given the choice to take a percentage pay cut or furlough.

The first option was for those in the $50,000-$149,000 salary range. That group was given the choice of taking a 10-day furlough between June 1 and July 25 or a six-month pay cut of 3.5% for those making $50,000-$99,000 or a 5% pay cut for the $100,000-$149,000 range.

The second option, for employees making $150,000-$299,000, followed a similar structure, with qualifying staff members choosing between a six-month pay cut of 7.5% for salaries in the $150,000-$199,000 range or taking both a 10-day furlough between June 1 and July 25 and a smaller, undisclosed percentage pay cut for five months from August through December.

Similar steps have been taken at colleges and universities throughout the country in both athletics and the academic world.

The recent step taken by Kansas Athletics followed an announcement in late April that the KU athletic department’s three highest paid employees, Long, men’s basketball coach Bill Self and football coach Les Miles, were taking voluntary 10% pay cuts from May through October.

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said at the time that the move by Long, Miles and Self would save the athletic department $500,000. Long said Wednesday that the latest move would produce a savings of an additional $650,000 through Dec. 31.

“We continue to explore all options across the landscape of Kansas Athletics to reduce the financial shortfalls in the upcoming fiscal year budget which begins July 1,” Long said. “We are already anticipating a 10-20% shortfall due to lack of revenue, even if football and men’s basketball seasons are played without interruption.”


Brett McCabe 2 years, 4 months ago

Fire the dirty bball coach for cause and let everyone else get paid. Problem solved. Justice served.

The hard workers making less than 50k who didn’t put the program in peril get to pay their rent and we actually can sleep at night. Winners all.

Gavin Fritton 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree with not making the people making less than $50k take any kind of pay cut or furlough, at least in principle.

But firing the basketball coach won't work for several reasons. First, it would be fundamentally impossible from a legal standpoint to fire him for cause in light of the strong, strident response KU filed in response to the NCAA's Notice of Inquiry. KU made a full-throated defense and claimed complete innocence. Unless they're willing to go to the NCAA and say "we were wrong, Coach Self absolutely cheated ," we can't fire him for cause. And even if we did that, the penalties the NCAA would be able to levy against KU could be staggering.

Also, firing Bill Self to save his salary and use the savings to pay other AD staff only works if we don't hire another coach. Firing a coach and hiring a new one while we await the NCAA's penalties for our now-admitted cheating is going to be ridiculously expensive. What good coach is going to take the job not knowing what penalties might end up coming down months later? And even if we could find such a coach to take the job, do you think we can hire that person for no money? Do you think we could even get them to take the job for less money than Bill Self is making right now? I don't think we could, but even if that was possible, how much less would they have to take in order to balance out the payments we'd be making to prevent anyone else from having to take a pay cut? I don't think there's any way to make the math work on this.

Jeff Coffman 2 years, 4 months ago

Is there something going on with our Baseball coach?

Brian Wilson 2 years, 4 months ago

In my opinion, all of them are getting off light. they should be ecstatic. Most industries have been furloughing 1 to 2 days per week if not permanently. Long lives in LA LA LAND and is spending down the money and is expecting a 10-20% shortfall even without Covid....soon to be asking for a bailout.

Michael Leiker 2 years, 4 months ago

Couldn't agree more Brian. Always sad when folks have to absorb a pay cut but Long has come off as out of touch through this whole thing, acting as though somehow KU Athletics doesn't have to live in the same world the rest of us are living, while operating in a world that runs almost entirely on the generosity of others.

Freddie Garza 2 years, 4 months ago

So the lowest paid people are just going to have to face the potential for eviction and not being able to feed themselves, whereas the people making $150k will "only" get to make $143k this year. If you make $300k, you're going to have to find a way to make ends meet with "only" $270k.

Seems TOTALLY fair. eyeroll

John Strayer 2 years, 4 months ago

Ummm...under most state unemployment laws, furloughed employees are fully eligible for state unemployment benefits...and if COVID-19 related, may qualify for the additional $600 a week Federal money. While not the same as retaining your job...they aren't going to be penniless on the street. In my employer's company...we're having a hard time getting furloughed employees to come back since they're getting nearly $1,000 per week in benefits. For most, the $600 Federal money gives them more than what they were earning before furlough.

Titus Canby 2 years, 4 months ago

As Brian Wilson mentions above, those cuts are significantly less than the cuts most companies are making.

Put me in the same camp as Robert Brock.

Jeff Coffman 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't think there are any good solutions. The good news for those making under $50,000 per year, basically boils down to $1000/week. The way the COVID relief bill was written, is that you qualify for 80% of what you were making +$600/week.

If you take $1000*80% = $800 and add the $600, it becomes about $1400/week. There are some caps to this, so I think it maxes out at approximately $54k/year and it is only temporary. However, for general furloughs of 2-4 months personnel making under $50k should come to about the same amount as what they were making before.

Please don't take this as I am supportive or not supportive of the amounts, nor that I like the idea of anyone being furloughed.

I'm just trying to illustrate the under $50k with the CARES act should be roughly accommodated.

Ross Hartley 2 years, 4 months ago

Come on Freddie, a little over dramatic. They're talking a 3 week furlough.

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