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AP source: FIU’s Garcia defers salary in virus response

May 7, 2020 GMT

MIAMI (AP) — A person with knowledge of the situation says Florida International University athletic director Pete Garcia has decided to defer one year of salary as part of the school’s response to financial concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

FIU also is furloughing about 22 athletic department employees into July and dissolved its men’s indoor track and field team, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the school did not disclose any of the moves publicly.

The school did not immediately respond to a request for comment and it could not be determined how much money the school was hoping to save with the moves, or how many jobs were spared because of Garcia’s decision to forgo his salary.

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The athletic department also had no immediate comment.

Garcia’s salary is listed in public documents as $435,689. The deferment would likely be for two years, or around the time that his current contract is set to expire. He has held the title of FIU’s executive director of sports and entertainment since 2006.

The men’s indoor track and field team competed in five meets this past season, and most members of that team also compete in outdoor track. FIU still plans to offer outdoor track and cross country for men, as well as both of those sports and indoor track for women.

School records show FIU has a budget of about $28 million for athletics, or roughly 2% of the university’s overall budget for the current fiscal year.

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered fears of an economic meltdown on campuses around the country. The cancellation of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament alone cost schools $375 million and more losses are expected, especially if football season is disrupted in the fall.