Barry Alvarez, Paul Chryst and Greg Gard among those taking a pay cut due to financial impact of COVID-19

Athletic departments across the country are trying to manage the financial fallout from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and Wisconsin is no different.

On Saturday, officials announced UW will implement a “compensation and work reduction plan” that will impact nearly all of the employees in the athletic department. The plan is tentatively set to go into place May 18 and go through July 25.

The plan includes asking the highest-paid employees to incur a 15-percent reduction in pay over the next six months. Among those included in the 25 people that make up the group are athletic director Barry Alvarez, football coach Paul Chryst and basketball coach Greg Gard. Everyone in the group will continue to work their same hours despite the pay cut.

“Reducing compensation and work hours is obviously not something I want to see for any of our Badger Athletics family,” Alvarez said in the release. “But we are facing the same financial challenges that other organizations across the country are. We are working hard to minimize the impact on our employees while responding to the realities of the situation created by the pandemic.

“I greatly appreciate our highest earners’ willingness to consider voluntarily accepting a temporary reduction in pay, as well as the rest of our staff who are sharing in this exercise by reducing their hours to help us navigate our way through these unprecedented times.”

According to the release, around 350 other employees within the athletic department will be a part of the state’s Work-Share program and will have their hours reduced by either 20 or 50 percent. The program, which is offered by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, allows businesses to retain employees by reducing hours while also giving them the chance to recoup some of their lost wages with unemployment benefits.

The athletic department believes the actions taken will save an estimated $2.8 million.

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