60 WSU athletes test positive for COVID-19, coaches take pay cuts to help budget

The Future of Cougar Football
The Future of Cougar Football

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University Athletic Director Pat Chun said Friday that 60 student athletes have had COVID-19.

Chun announced the number of cases during a press conference focused on new developments in the athletic department as a result of the pandemic, including new budget changes.

Chun said there have been 1,600 tests administered to WSU athletes so far. This also comes as Whitman County has seen a significant spike in cases directly related to students returning to Pullman.

 

The athletic department is expecting a potential revenue loss of over $30 million due to the pandemic. In April, football head coach Nick Rolovich, men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith and Chun all took salary reductions.

The department also mandated two weeks of furlough for non-contracted athletic department staff.

Since them, Chun said coaches and staff have implemented additional measures. Rolovich, Smith and Chun will now voluntarily take a 15 percent salary reduction and women’s head basketball coach Kamie Ehtridge will take a voluntary 12.5 percent salary reduction.

All additional head coaches, assistant coaches and other contracted staff members have been mandated or asked to take at least a 10 percent salary reduction.

All non-contracted staff members will be required to take a total of four furlough weeks and 10 full-time positions have been eliminated.

These actions combined total $3.4 million in savings for the department. Operating expenses have been reduced by another $3.1 million.

Chun said football season ticket holders were also asked to consider donating or crediting their purchases. He said 80 percent of season ticket holders opted to do so.

“Thank you to everyone for responding and for your continued support of WSU,” Chun said.