'Penn State Athletics as We Know it is at Risk,' Athletic Director Sandy Barbour Tells Supporters

Penn State relaunches its athletics fundraising campaign, projecting a nearly 50-percent revenue drop this year.
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Penn State has relaunched its athletics fundraising campaign, hoping to close a projected budget deficit of $20.5 for this fiscal year caused by the COVID-19 shutdown.

In a letter to Nittany Lion Club members, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour projected that COVID-19 would cut Penn State's expected athletic revenue of $150 million this year nearly in half to $76.5 million. In response, Barbour said the athletic department saved $25.8 million through furloughs, spending cuts and salary reductions. Penn State also holds a reserve fund of $27.2 million.

That would leave Penn State with a deficit of about $20.5 million, Barbour said. The athletic department plans to take a loan but hopes to reduce the amount through donations.

"However, without the financial support from our community, Penn State Athletics as we know it is at risk," Barbour wrote in the letter.

Barbour said this summer, before the Big Ten announced that the football season would resume, that Penn State had to consider a variety of cost-cutting measures, including potentially cutting varsity sports programs.

"We have a long history and tradition of comprehensive excellence across a fairly large number of sports," Barbour said in August. "And certainly one of my goals would be to consider that tradition and continue that as one of our long-held values. But having said that, obviously this is going to be a very difficult financial situation, and I have tasked our team in ... looking at every available measure to close the gap of whatever revenue it is we're going to lose."

Penn State's fundraising relaunch includes a redesigned "OneTeam Initiative" website, which includes video messages from Barbour and men's hockey coach Guy Gadowsky.

Donations benefit the Levi Lamb Fund and the Returning Senior Fund, which support athlete scholarships.

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