Ohio State athletics to save $1 million from voluntary salary reductions of coaches

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State football coach Ryan Day agreed to a 5% pay cut equaling $226,778 and now will be paid $6.02 million during the current fiscal year.

Ohio State’s athletic department will save about $1 million from voluntary salary reductions that it asked its highest-paid coaches and administrators to take earlier this fall, according to documents obtained by The Dispatch through a public-records request.

The 5% pay cuts, which began in October, continue through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The biggest savings come out of the salaries of football coach Ryan Day and men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann, who are giving a combined $338,802 back to the department over the span of nine months, records show. Athletic director Gene Smith took a pay cut of $57,960.

Day is the highest-paid employee in the  department, as well as the second-highest-paid football coach in the Big Ten after receiving a raise in February. Following a pay cut equaling $236,778, he will be paid $6.02 million during the current fiscal year.

The pay reduction for Day involves all of his guaranteed income, including base salary and supplemental payments from media appearances and apparel contracts.

Holtmann is Ohio State’s second-highest-paid employee behind Day and will make $2.58 million this year after agreeing to a pay cut worth $102,024.

The cost-saving plan was implemented in September amid the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, much of it due to a loss of revenue generated by football ticket sales and other gameday-related incomes.

The department forecasted a $107 million budget deficit in its fiscal year 2021 budget, though the nine-figure projection released three months ago did not include potential media rights revenues that would be realized if a football season was held this fall. The Buckeyes have so far played four games.  

A total of 46 employees in Ohio State’s athletic department signed salary reduction agreements accepting pay cuts, totaling $1,004,409 in savings. All were asked to take a 5% reduction in base salary.

Because of previously signed contracts, they were required to voluntarily agree to the contract amendments imposing reductions.

The top earners throughout the department followed suit, including all on-field assistant football coaches, as well as men’s basketball assistants and Olympic sports coaches.

“It’s the right thing to do, so I didn’t hesitate when they told me what was going to happen,” said Larry Johnson, the defensive line coach who is currently serving as acting head coach following Day’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

The savings from the football assistants, as well as strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti, director of player personnel Mark Pantoni and director of football operations Brian Voltolini, totaled $347,618.

Men’s basketball assistants Jake Diebler, Terry Johnson and Ryan Pedon accepted salary reductions totaling $40,313.

Men’s hockey coach Steve Rohlik took a pay reduction that equaled $17,719, while baseball coach Greg Beals accepted one of $12,911 and wrestling coach Tom Ryan one of $12,068.

A university spokesman told the USA TODAY Network on Friday that all coaches remain eligible for performance bonuses this year.