August 5, 2020

University of Alabama sends letters to donors detailing possible effects of COVID-19 pandemic

The University of Alabama athletics department, in a letter posted on its official website and e-mailed to season ticket holders and Tide Pride members on Wednesday, described the financial hardships the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the school’s athletic programs.

Athletic Director Greg Byrne said in an attempt to offset revenue shortfalls, operating budgets for all departments and sports have decreased and a freeze has been placed on vacant non-coaching positions.

Byrne said the department is a large percentage of the department’s annual budget comes from ticket sales and from Tide Pride memberships. If a modified seating model has to be implemented at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Byrne said the department’s budget could be greatly affected. Those affected will be able to decide between a complete or partial refund, Byrne said.

Below is Byrne’s letter in its entirety:

“No question there has been a lot to celebrate being part of the Crimson Tide. Whether you witnessed the goal-line stand of the 1979 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, or you were sitting in Mercedes-Benz Stadium watching the overtime win over Georgia in 2018 to win our 17th national championship, these are memories that will last a lifetime for all of us.

While we remain unsure of what is to come for the 2020-21 season, we continue to work through a multitude of scenarios and cost-savings measures to operate as efficiently as we possibly can in these unprecedented times. Despite the unknowns, we remain committed to the core of our mission, which is centered on educating, serving and developing the best student-athletes.

With the financial challenges Alabama Athletics is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve already taken steps to help offset revenue shortfalls including a decrease in operating budgets for all of our departments and sports, a freeze on vacant non-coaching positions as well as facility operating and energy savings. We have a number of other strategies under review that we will look at implementing as decisions are made for the fall, however donor contributions, season ticket purchases and TIDE PRIDE memberships are vital to our operation and we could not be where we are without the support of so many of you.

Under normal operations, a large percentage of our annual budget comes directly from ticket sales and TIDE PRIDE memberships. In the event we have to adopt a modified seating model at Bryant-Denny Stadium, this number will be impacted significantly. While we don’t yet know the effects on individual ticketholders, we do know that we will need your continued and generous support.

As plans become clearer, the Crimson Tide Foundation and TIDE PRIDE/ticket office will work with you to provide options to continue supporting our core mission, including the opportunity to donate TIDE PRIDE contributions and ticket purchases as a potentially deductible gift to the Crimson Tide Foundation. Those affected will also have the option to elect a complete or partial refund of TIDE PRIDE contributions and ticket purchases.

While we are still living in a world of unknowns, we do know that because of people like you, we will come out of this together. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have generously supported Alabama Athletics over the years. You play a crucial role in the experience of our over 600 student-athletes, and we are forever grateful.

Our staff remains hard at work and is here to serve you. Questions for the Crimson Tide Foundation can be directed by phone at 205-348-9727 or email at ctf@ia.ua.edu, while inquiries specific to the ticket office and TIDE PRIDE can dial 205-348-2262 or email ticketoffice@ia.ua.edu.”