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WSU Athletics announces salary reductions and furloughs

It’s a tough time for all athletic departments

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday came the inevitable announcement by WSU Athletics: The athletic department, facing dire circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced various salary reductions, as well as furloughs and the elimination of 10 full-time positions.

Here’s the whole rundown.

Of note, Nick Rolovich and Kyle Smith will take a 15% salary cut, while Kamie Ethridge will take a 12.5% cut. All athletics staff members not on contracts will need to take four furlough weeks.

These mitigations and previous spending reductions are expected to save WSU about $6.5 million as it prepares for a potential revenue loss of about $30 million. Yikes.

These moves aren’t unique to Washington State, of course. Utah furloughed its entire athletic department recently, and Washington is taking similar steps.

It’s not a good time in the college athletics world, especially for those schools opting to not play football this fall. Let’s hope things change and we can get a football season in sometime before next summer.

Sixty WSU athletes have tested positive for COVID-19

Yes, 60 is a big number, but did you expect anything different with Pullman being such a COVID hot spot? The good news is—and this isn’t being reported enough, in my humble opinion—is that there have been a grand total of zero hospitalizations in Whitman County as a result of the surge in positive cases. Zero (so far....). With limited hospital capacity, that was a huge concern heading into the school year. In fact, only two people have been hospitalized total in Whitman County for COVID-19 since this whole circus started back in March.

That’s not to downplay the seriousness of the situation—those who tested positive can absolutely infect someone else who ends up in the hospital—but it’s the full reality.

Plus, and this is just me spitballing here, had WSU and the Pac-12 gone ahead with fall sports, I’m guessing the university would have plans in place to keep athletes in some sort of “bubble” as they prepared for games and matches. With no competitions on the horizon, perhaps many athletes let their guard down like much of the population back in Pullman this fall.

Can’t get enough of Gardner Minshew

He makes an appearance in this—weird? strange? odd?—ESPN NFL promo:

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Washington State eliminates 10 athletic dept. positions with new cost containment plan | The Spokesman-Review
In mid-April, when Washington State realized the full scope of the financial ramifications that would come with not playing a spring sports slate, the athletic department announced its first wave of cost-cutting strategies.

Washington State announces 53 new positive student-athlete COVID-19 cases | The Spokesman-Review
Student-athletes at Washington State haven't been spared from the recent surge of COVID-19 cases on the Pullman campus.

WSU athletics announces cost saving measures |
Athletic Director Pat Chun also announced the total positive coronavirus cases for WSU student-athletes has increased from seven in August to 60 as of Friday.

Even as new partnership provides 'ray of sunshine,' Washington State grapples with dark realities of pandemic | The Spokesman-Review
During a Zoom call with reporters Friday, Pat Chun described the Pac-12's new partnership with Quidel Corporation as "a ray of sunshine." By the end of the month, Washington State and other schools in the league will be able to to test their athletes daily – something that's been considered a breakthrough in the race to get college sports back.