Kansas Athletics announced the postponement of the 2021 Kansas Relays Wednesday. The postponement comes from financial obligations and concern with hosting an event of high school and collegiate athletes traveling to Lawrence from various areas across the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kansas Relays had previously been held every year since 1923 prior to last spring, with the exceptions of cancellations in 1943-45 due to World War II, and in 1998-99 due to Memorial Stadium renovations. This past spring’s event was canceled due to the concerns surrounding the pandemic.
Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long said postponing the event will save Athletics an estimated $300,000 for an event that would “likely cost significantly more with the current 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 news release from Kansas Athletics. “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.”
Since the beginning of the current fiscal year on July 1, Kansas Athletics has gone through a large number of budget reductions, the release said. Those include salary reductions, furlough programs, reduction of part-time staff, operations reductions and a hiring freeze of all non-essential roles.
Budget reductions will also continue to be evaluated and implemented as needed, according to Kansas Athletics.
“While the postponement of this marquee event is difficult, I understand and support the decision,” said Kansas track and field coach Stanley Redwine in the release. “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.”