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UGA Athletics expecting $55 million budget shortfall

The athletic director told the board of directors that the athletic association could absorb the cost.

ATHENS, Ga. — A meeting held for the athletics department at Georgia's most well-known university revealed some grim financial news with a bit of a silver lining on Friday.

University of Georgia Athletics Director Greg McGarity announced an estimated $55 million budget shortfall during the fall report to the Athletics Board of Directors for the 2021 fiscal year. 

The news comes as colleges and universities across the nation struggle to find the best way to accommodate sports - and fans - amid a pandemic that spreads in gatherings of people.

In fact, the meeting was held virtually for that exact reason.

However, McGarity also offered some positive news in that it appeared the athletic association would be able to absorb any deficit. This would be accomplished through a combination of different measures such as "cost containment," a short-term loan and taking some funds from the reserve. The amount coming from the latter isn't yet established.

McGarity thanked fans that had chosen to continue their donations during the economically difficult time. He also said that more than 50 percent of donors had "opted out" of attending games for the season, which will allow them to accommodate the remainder who will attend.

"It certainly helped us accommodate all of our donors," he said.