Colorado Springs, Colo. (June 22, 2020)—Over the course of the last several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on USA Ultimate. Like most national governing bodies and other amateur sports organizations, we have been required to adapt to an extraordinary and uncertain situation. We’ve adjusted to a remote work environment, created a thorough set of Return-to-Play guidelines and continue to evaluate and implement ways to remain engaged and preserve our sense of community.
The pandemic has also had a profound effect on our financial health and stability. As a result, we’ve taken several steps to mitigate long-term financial stress, including:
- Reduced our full-time, headquarters staff by 20 percent in March
- Applied for and received a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan from the Small Business Administration
- Significantly reduced expenses
- Held a membership drive to help minimize a substantial shortfall in revenue. (We sincerely thank all of you who were able to help!)
Despite these best efforts, and after building and assessing several different economic models to prepare for an unclear future, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to further reduce our financial exposure through a combination of scaled salary reductions and rolling furloughs.
Beginning next week, all USA Ultimate staff will have their pay reduced for at least the next six months. Additionally, sixty percent of our team will be furloughed from June 29 through August 2 in order to take full advantage of the benefits provided by the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Afterwards, all staff may be subject to a series of additional, rolling furloughs pending the outcome of future legislation and financial aid opportunities for small businesses like USA Ultimate.
“It is excruciatingly hard to make these decisions, especially since nobody on our team has done anything other than continue to work very hard to help us succeed,” explained USA Ultimate Chief Executive Officer Tom Crawford. “Like the entire world of amateur sports, the financial realities require us to make painful decisions to protect the organization and put us in a position to quickly get back on track – at the high level we’ve been accustomed to – when it’s safer to get back to normal activities.
“I love this team, and by using a combination of scaled pay cuts and rolling furloughs instead of permanent layoffs, we will continue to remain engaged throughout the remainder of the year, ready to hit the ‘go’ button and return to full speed when we can.
“As a result of these decisions, I am hoping our community will be empathetic towards the staff and patient with us throughout this difficult period. We will not be able to provide the level of service our members are used to, and responses will be significantly delayed. Thank you for your compassion and understanding.”
“I can truthfully say on behalf of the board, we are so thankful to have a team who cares about our sport and our community the way our headquarters team does,” added USA Ultimate Board of Directors President Robyn Fennig. “Their dedication throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic is yet another way they continue to show up for and support us.”