Mark Coyle, 5 Gophers coaches taking 10 percent pay cuts due to Covid-19

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 09: Head coach P.J. Fleck of the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at TCFBank Stadium on November 9, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

The University of Minnesota Athletic Department is doing everything it can to mitigate the financial downfall the Coronavirus pandemic has caused without live sports.

The department head, Mark Coyle, took the next step on Thursday. Coyle announced that he and the Gophers’ five highest-paid head coaches are taking a 10 percent pay cut for six months at the start of the 2021 fiscal year, which is July 1.

That group includes Coyle, football coach P.J. Fleck, men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino, women’s basketball coach Lindsay Whalen, men’s hockey coach Bob Motzko and volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon.

It will save the department about $450,000. Fleck was due to make $4.5 million in 2020. Pitino was set to make about $2.5 million.

"I want to thank Lindsay, P.J., Richard, Hugh and Bob for taking a voluntary reduction in pay," said Coyle. "This is the second voluntary reduction for all of us since April, and I appreciate their dedication to Minnesota and willingness to help in a time of financial uncertainty."

Previously, 200 Minnesota coaches and senior staff officials took a one-week pay cut as the department started to take a financial hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Coyle said going into meetings at the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament, they were projecting a $1 million surplus. That changed into a $4 million loss in revenue since the NCAA shut down winter and spring sports.

Coyle estimated last week that the best-case scenario as it stands is for Minnesota to have a near $10 million loss in revenue for fiscal year 2021. That’s if we have football in the fall, with students on campus. That figure jumps to about $30 million if we have football with no fans at TCF Bank Stadium, and about $75 million if football has to be delayed until early 2021.