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Furman University cuts salaries, implements furloughs, discontinues baseball and men’s lacrosse amid COVID-19

Furman University said its vice presidents, athletics directors, head coaches, and other highly compensated employees will take a voluntary 10% salary reduction.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Furman University announced Monday its plans to cut salaries, implement furloughs and discontinue baseball and men’s lacrosse programs to address the financial impact of COVID-19.

The university said its vice presidents, athletics directors, head coaches, and other highly compensated employees will take a voluntary 10% salary reduction, while the university’s president will take a voluntary 20% salary reduction.

Other measures include a 5.5% reduction in operating budgets, 2.5 percentage points in Furman’s contribution to employee retirement plans, summer furloughs for employees with diminished workloads and more.

Furman said it’s discontinuing its baseball and men’s lacrosse programs immediately and reducing the total number of athletic scholarships by 45 over the next five years with reductions spread across multiple sports.

The university said it was already in the process of developing a comprehensive long-term strategy for its athletics programs.

“Furman will honor the scholarships of current and incoming student-athletes in baseball and men's lacrosse for the remainder of their undergraduate academic careers at Furman and assist them with transferring to another institution if they decide to do so,” the university said in a press release.

The school said the strategy is in alignment with its investment in its academic mission and vision, but the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the process.

The university said it is focusing on returning to in-person instruction in the fall and said senior leadership and emergency management teams, together with a task force of trustees, have been meeting regularly to address both urgent and long-term issues related to the pandemic.

"Our immediate focus is on supporting our student-athletes and coaches impacted by today's decisions, as well as our alumni and fans who so passionately support our programs," said director of athletics Jason Donnelly.

Furman said its currently developing a detailed plan to reopen the campus that will be announced in the next few weeks.

"Although our fall semester might feel different than usual, I'm looking forward to welcoming first-year and returning students back to campus for a uniquely Furman experience," said Furman University’s president Elizabeth Davis. “The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust us into a global crisis we could not have imagined six months ago.”

Visit Furman University’s website for more information.

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