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Fulmer requests 15% pay cut to save costs amid projected pandemic losses

University of Tennessee Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer requested a 15 percent pay cut after he said the athletics department expects to lose $30-$40 million dollars due to the need for social distancing at Neyland Stadium.
(WVLT)
Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 2:55 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - University of Tennessee Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer requested a 15 percent pay cut after he said the athletics department expects to lose $30-$40 million dollars due to the need for social distancing at Neyland Stadium.

“You probably know this already, but we are no different than any other athletic department in this country, “said Fulmer in a letter. “We all face considerable financial shortfalls due to COVID-19. If and when SEC football happens this fall, Neyland Stadium will only host a fraction of its capacity due to mandated social distancing requirements ... that means this year we will have to forego revenue from ticket sales, donations, parking and more which we need to fund student-athlete scholarships, medical care, nutrition services, academic support, team operations etc.”

Fulmer said internal measures are being taken to help cope with the projected losses, including implementing a hiring freeze, limiting spending to critical needs only and cutting operating budgets by 20 percent in all departments.

“To lead the way I have requested a 15 percent reduction in pay,” said Fulmer. “I came here as your AD to stabilize our athletic department and win championships. We are very close to reclaiming our rightful place at the top of the SEC. We cannot let this virus derail our progress.”

According to the letter, season ticket holders who wish to not attend games can donate their ticket payment to support the program. Fulmer said that if the football season is called off altogether, the projected losses could be doubled.

“I know you’ll prove that the fighting spirit of the Tennessee Volunteer is alive and well,” he wrote.

For more information on how to support the program through monetary donations click here.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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