The following is a letter from Iowa State Athletics Director Jamie Pollard originally posted on Cyclones.com.
Dear Cyclone fans,
So much has changed in the world in a very short time. Just a few weeks ago, I first wrote you regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. It is even more daunting to realize our world will keep changing at a rapid pace for the foreseeable future.
As we previously shared, it is critical that we take action today so we are as prepared as possible for a new normal when our society can re-engage. The individuals and organizations who can plan and execute efficiently today are best positioned to be successful tomorrow.
I am writing today to share several initiatives that we are implementing in the athletics department to best prepare for, both the known and the unknown, financial challenges that we will be facing soon.
The athletics department is funded almost entirely by external sources, which is different from the majority of departments on campus. President Wendy Wintersteen has empowered our department’s leadership team to implement several key actions that position our department to successfully address our upcoming financial challenges.
We hosted several virtual meetings with our coaches and staff this week and shared a collective game plan that is strategic, proactive and transparent. The goal was to develop a strategy that established a foundation to be successful over the long-term, while recognizing that many of you (ticket holders, donors, sponsors, etc.) are being negatively impacted by the economic fall-out of COVID-19.
We are implementing these initiatives:
- A one-year, temporary pay reduction for athletics department coaches and certain staff. This comprehensive plan will reduce total payroll by more than $3M.
- A one-year, temporary suspension of all bonuses/incentives for all coaches. This decision will save the department $1M.
- Delaying (from January 2021 to January 2022) a previously announced increase in Cyclone Club annual giving levels. The delay will save donors approximately $2.5M for required seating donations.
- A freeze on season / individual game ticket prices for all sports.
- An extension to the deadline for this year’s Cyclone Club donations and football season ticket renewals to May 29, 2020.
- Providing multiple payment options for season tickets and donations. Those required payments can be made monthly, quarterly or semi-annually.
These actions will help us address the $5M shortfall that we face with the cancellation of the NCAA and Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournaments. We can now turn our attention to solving many other issues in the coming months. It was also important to us to provide our loyal ticket holders and donors some relief in regards to ticket prices and donations.
Although we could have passed on implementing these difficult decisions today and simply hoped for things to improve, we felt it was wise to act now.
I want to thank President Wintersteen and her senior leadership team for supporting these initiatives. I also want to thank everyone in our athletics department, especially our head coaches, for accepting these decisions unselfishly and helping lead us through this challenge.
We have an incredible culture in our athletics department. It is grounded on our ability to strategize, execute and outwork the competition, while demonstrating great compassion, empathy and courage.
These are challenging times, but we could not have better campus and state leadership, loyal and supportive external constituents, or colleagues in the athletics department, than what we have at Iowa State University.
Let us all look forward to that day when we can sing “Sweet Caroline” in unison sometime in the future. Until then, be smart, be safe, and most importantly stay healthy.
Jamie Pollard, Iowa State Director of Athletics