Kansas State's athletic department took steps Wednesday to alleviate the financial burden caused by the coronavirus pandemic, announcing salary reductions for selected coaches and senior staff, as well as a cut in operating expenses for the upcoming fiscal year.


The most notable cuts for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins July 1, are 13% salary reductions for head football coach Chris Klieman and head men's basketball coach Bruce Weber. Athletic department employees making more than $150,000 per year will take a 10% cut and those in the $100,000 to $150,000 range face a 5% reduction.


Klieman was set to make $2.5 million this year and Weber $2.7 million. The salary reductions are expected to cut department costs by about $1.5 million.


The department also announced a 10% cut to its operating expenses, which should result in a savings of $2 million.


"We are in the midst of such a unique time, and I sincerely appreciate our staff and coaches taking this situation in stride and showcasing strong leadership," K-State athletic director Gene Taylor said in a statement. "From revenue streams to competitions, a lot of unknowns remain ahead of us, and this reduction plan will allow us to focus on the needs of our programs and student-athletes.


"We remain confident that the return to normalcy is ahead of us and appreciate all that our coaches, staff, student-athletes, fans and supporters have done to help us through this unprecedented period."


In an April 17 interview with the Salina Journal, Taylor said the athletic department was in good shape through fiscal 2020, in part because the pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home order had all but eliminated travel costs for recruiting and spring sports. But he added that the uncertainty surrounding the 2021 budget, especially concerning football ticket sales, likely would necessitate some adjustments.


"As we project into the fiscal year for 2021, we're just doing a lot of projections right now, in terms of revenue models that are going to be less than what they typically are," Taylor said at the time. "We just don't know what those numbers are going to be, so we're projecting everything from a five-percent reduction in revenue to a 25-percent reduction, and where in terms of expenses can we cut to balance the budgets out?"