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How COVID-19 restrictions are impacting Virginia Athletics

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Limited capacity due to Gov. Ralph Northam’s public health restrictions is impacting the bottom line for Virginia Athletics. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Virginia Athletics, citing budget shortfalls 10 months into COVID-19, is reducing staffing levels and not filling open positions.

A release from the school didn’t detail the extent of the budget hit.

According to the USA Today NCAA Finances database, which is current as of the 2018-2019 school year, UVA ranked 32nd nationally in overall revenues, reporting $110.2 million.

From that total, $11.5 million – 10.4 percent – came from ticket sales.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 public health restrictions have limited capacity at football and men’s basketball events to 250.

Northam said on Thursday that those restrictions will remain in place at least through the end of February, ostensibly the end of the 2020-2021 basketball season.

For comparison, Louisville, a fellow ACC member, has capped attendance at home games at 3,000, 15 percent of the capacity of the KFC Yum! Center.

Fifteen percent isn’t 100 percent, but it isn’t 1.6 percent, which is what UVA is getting in the John Paul Jones Arena and got when it could get 1,000 into Scott Stadium for football games early last season.

Notably, the USA Today accounting for 2018-2019 had Virginia Athletics operating at a $2.4 million deficit that year.

Already at a deficit, then, and now without $11.5 million that you could count on year in, year out, that’s a hard reality.

“These are incredibly painful decisions, but they are, unfortunately, a necessary part of an overall strategy to address the financial challenges we face,” Virginia athletics director Carla Williams said. “We have a very dedicated staff and the evidence of that dedication and shared sacrifice has been at the forefront during this pandemic. Despite these challenges, the priority remains delivering championship opportunities for our coaches and student-athletes.”

Story by Chris Graham

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