John Wildhack: Letter on the state of Syracuse Athletics

Local Sports


The unfortunate circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have created unique challenges for all, but they have not kept the Syracuse University Athletics Department from focusing on its mission, core values and commitment to the student-athletes and our loyal fans.

I write you today to wish you and your family the best during this health and economic crisis.  I know we have all been impacted in very personal ways, and nothing could be more important than your family’s personal health and safety.

As a key constituent and member of the Orange family, I also write you to provide updates on our department.  Many of you have inquired and continue to express your passionate concern and ask questions about what impact this pandemic is likely going to have on our student-athletes, coaches, and programs.

While the fluidity of the situation makes this an impossible question to answer, the one thing we all know is that we are going to be financially challenged in ways we have never experienced before.  In response to this, let me outline what initial steps my staff and I have taken to address this issue:

·         Effective July 1, Coaches Babers, Boeheim, Desko, Gait, and Hillsman and I are joining members of the University Leadership Team by voluntarily reducing our salaries by 10%.

·         Our Senior Leadership Team in Athletics took swift action to reduce significantly the operating budget for FY20.  These cost-containment measures will help partially offset a significant reduction in anticipated revenues.  For FY21, we will implement further cost-cutting measures in addition to the reduction of salaries referenced above.

·         We remain in close contact with long-standing corporate partners and key stakeholders.  Despite the challenging situation in which we all find ourselves, our team has been instructed to take a longer view of these relationships and work together as family.

·         We remain committed to providing the best academic and athletic experience possible for our student-athletes.  This includes allowing spring sport student-athletes to pursue an additional year of eligibility if they desire and if they are in good academic standing.  Many schools have done the opposite.  However, we will support these 28 student-athletes, representing all our spring sports.

We have also launched the Together ’Cuse campaign, a critical initiative to continue furthering our mission and addressing the areas of greatest need for our student-athletes and the Athletics Department in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.  Together ’Cuse is the way Syracuse University Athletics is pulling together as part of the Syracuse Responds efforts.  Learn more about Together ’Cuse.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for everything you have done and continue to do for Syracuse University and our Athletics program.  As we manage through this seemingly ever-changing environment, I draw strength and inspiration from the strength and the resolve of our Orange community.

Go Orange!


Director of Athletics John Wildhack

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