Citing financial obstacles created by the COVID-19 crisis, Kansas Athletics announced Wednesday the 2021 Kansas Relays will be postponed.
KU Athletic Director Jeff Long said the move will save the athletic department $300,000, and said the event likely would have cost more than usual due to virus testing protocols.
“This is a difficult but necessary decision in the midst of a very trying time for our community and Kansas Athletics,” Long said in a statement. “We have to operate in as lean a fashion as possible, while not inhibiting the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes. There are a lot of logistical details and planning that goes into this event, so delaying the decision any longer would not be beneficial to many individuals' time and resources.”
The pandemic also canceled the 2020 Kansas Relays earlier this year. Prior to that, the large-scale track event for both college and high school athletes had taken place every year since 1923, with the exception of World War II cancellations from 1943-1945, as well as a pause from 1998-99, due to renovations at the event’s former home, Memorial Stadium.
“While the postponement of this marquee event is difficult, I understand and support the decision,” KU track coach Stanley Redwine stated. “I appreciate the tireless effort of our administration in evaluating all budgetary concerns, and am grateful they are doing everything they can to protect dollars and resources that directly impact our student-athletes as well as their academic and athletic experiences.”
Kansas Athletics has spent much of the time since sports began getting canceled and postponed this past March dealing with the financial ramifications.
Since the start of the 2020-21 fiscal year on July 1, according to KU, it has reduced salaries, implemented furloughs, reduced part time staff, taken measures to reduce operations and put in place a hiring freeze for nonessential roles.