CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – UNI Athletics today launched the public phase of the UNI Fight Initiative, a special fund to help the department offset the loss of revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact across college athletics.
The department currently faces a revenue shortfall of over $2.5 million. That number is likely to rise with schedule changes, seat limitations and the cost of implementing other protocols mandated by state laws and local policies.
The UNI Athletics department staff and coaches have taken pay reductions and all incentive bonuses have been suspended for the 2020-21 fiscal year. The department has also put in place a spending freeze and has left several positions vacant.
Despite these cost-cutting measures, the shortfall will still be significant. The goal of the UNI Fight Initiative is to bridge the gap with the help of the Panther faithful.
"UNI has a reputation of overcoming tough circumstances," Director of Athletics David Harris said. "We come together to accomplish tasks that seem impossible and this is one of the toughest circumstances that we have ever faced. Now is the time to do what we always do and come together to tackle the challenge. Please consider making a one-time donation to the UNI Fight Initiative, above and beyond your normal gift, and help us during this unprecedented time. Your gift will help us maintain our focus on supporting our student-athletes in every aspect of their time at UNI."
The athletics development staff has already secured more than $300,000 in the first phase of the UNI Fight Initiative in gifts ranging from a few thousand dollars to over $50,000.
"The response so far has been heartening," Harris said. "So many people have stepped up in a big way to get us started on very solid footing. I am thankful for everyone that has given. We have a long way to go to meet our goals and I know that Panther Nation will respond."