Gamecocks update budget shortfalls caused by COVID-19
South Carolina is slowly working itself back from the financial impact of COVID-19, but will end the 2020-21 school year with a budget deficit of $27 million, according to a release from the school.
The Gamecocks attribute the shortfall fiscally to the COVID-19 pandemic, in large part because of reduced capacity at Williams-Brice Stadium for the 2020 football season paired with COVID testing for players, coaches and staff.
"I commend our coaches and staff for their ability to work under trying circumstances and continue to give our student-athletes a positive experience this past year," athletic director Ray Tanner said in a statement. "Our medical team and training staff did an outstanding job of keeping our student-athletes healthy and safe and meeting all of the COVID protocols as specified by the DHEC, CDC, the SEC and our University."
South Carolina tried to offset some of the financial burden with furloughs, voluntary staff cuts on the department's highest-paid employees at the time in Will Muschamp, Frank Martin and Dawn Staley as well as hiring freezes.
The deficit would have been larger if not for the SEC handing out $23 million to its member schools earlier this year.
The university is expecting to operate in the red for one more year and return to self-supporting status—which it's been for at least the last nine years—before getting back to being self-sustained for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Until then, "additional shortfalls will be covered by the university" with the athletics department paying those back beginning in the 2024 fiscal year.
"We are working to get back to full strength with our budget for 2022-23," Tanner said. "We will still need to be conscientious with the budget, but I believe we will be able to give our student-athletes and coaches the means necessary to compete for SEC and national championships."