NCAA to Furlough Entire Staff for 3-8 Weeks Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Blake SchusterAnalyst IISeptember 2, 2020

The national office of the NCAA in Indianapolis is shown Thursday, March 12, 2020. The NCAA canceled the men's and women's Division I basketball tournaments amid coronavirus fears on Thursday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The NCAA is furloughing nearly 600 employees at its Indianapolis headquarters for three-to-eight weeks beginning in late September due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press.

All staffers excluding senior executives will be subject to the furloughs. Senior management previously took pay reductions in March following the cancelation of March Madness.

"We are committed to supporting our member schools and conferences and student-athletes in every way possible, and yet I expect that some of our services to membership may be limited or delayed during this period furloughs," Emmert wrote in a memo obtained by the AP. "I ask for your patience as we all strive to weather these difficult times together."

According to the NCAA's website, the national headquarters helps maintain a variety of rules and regulations throughout college sports:

"We administer the rules adopted by our member schools, organize 89 national championships annually, provide educational services to coaches and athletics administrators, manage financial systems for the membership and conduct research into the experiences of those involved in college sports.

"We also promote student-athlete well-being — both physical and mental — through our Sports Science Institute, drug testing and insurance programs. Student-athletes benefit from NCAA programs supporting leadership opportunities, internships, degree completion and postgraduate scholarships. The NCAA provides almost $100 million every year to support academic opportunities and help student-athletes in need of educational materials, clothing and emergency travel expenses.

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It's unclear how the furloughs will impact the NCAA's ability to investigate wrongdoing within member school programs. 

The mandatory leave is expected to conclude by Feb. 2021. The NCAA is also reportedly offering "voluntary separation" and early retirement packages, per Russo. 

The Associated Press notes the organization has been hit hard by the pandemic and the loss of March Madness—which accounts for nearly all of the organization's yearly revenue. In response, the NCAA cut its annual distribution among Division I conferences from nearly $600 million to $225 million.