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Arizona athletics cuts 21 full-time positions due to pandemic

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Arizona athletics is eliminating 21 full-time positions and 15 previously-frozen positions to help overcome financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today marks a difficult day of very tough decisions for our athletics department,” vice president and director of athletics Dave Heeke said in a statement. “I have a great sense of empathy and compassion for the members of our Wildcat Family who are impacted by these decisions. These challenging economic times have affected all of us.

“We’ve spent months exhaustively looking at all of our financial models and forecasts. We waited until all the information was available to make informed financial decisions about our economic stability this year and in the future.”

The cuts and reorganization planning will reduce the department’s overall spending by $30 million this fiscal year and beyond. The department faces a projected $45 million revenue loss due to restrictions of fan attendance at athletic events, a reduced football schedule and uncertainty of other revenue streams.

The department also will save about $10 million in restructured debt for the fiscal year 2020-21 and $8 million from a reduction in overall sports expenses.