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U of U furloughs every employee in athletic department, coaches and AD included

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Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham (Photo: KUTV)

The University of Utah will furlough every employee in its athletic department, including Athletic Director Mark Harlan and team coaches because of financial shortfalls in a global pandemic.

Harlan released a statement about the furloughs Friday and said the decision was "difficult — but necessary" to mitigate the financial impact of the loss of games because of COVID-19.

"These changes include furloughs of various lengths for every Department employee—including me, our executive cabinet and our head and assistant coaches. In addition, in some select cases, we have also eliminated positions through reductions in force. We also have eliminated all performance bonuses until further notice," Harlan said in a statement.

2News was seeking an interview with Harlan and was given the release that is printed in full below.

Finances were impacted after spring sports were cancelled for the U of U and then football and other fall sports were cancelled Aug. 11 by the Pac-12 conference. Football is a revenue generator for the university and the athletic conference that paid member schools significant money from television and other revenue streams from games. Football coach Kyle Whittingham is among the highest paid state employees in Utah.

Yahoo finance listed his salary making $3.7 million in 2018.

Harlan's statement is as follows:

"As I have previously shared, the financial challenges that we are facing at Utah has led us to make difficult—but necessary—decisions to mitigate the financial impacts of the pandemic. These changes include furloughs of various lengths for every Department employee—including me, our executive cabinet and our head and assistant coaches. In addition, in some select cases, we have also eliminated positions through reductions in force. We also have eliminated all performance bonuses until further notice.

“These decisions were not based on employee performance, but rather reflect the significant financial shortfall we face as well as the realities of the postponement of fall sports competition. We are prioritizing the areas of our athletics operations that directly support our student-athletes."

2News will continue to follow this story.

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