Embattled University Of Arizona President Plans 2026 Resignation In Midst Of Financial Crisis

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Embattled University of Arizona President Robert Robbins, who took a salary cut weeks ago and has become a central figure in the school's financial crisis. announced Tuesday that he will resign when his contract ends on June 30, 2026.

Robbins said in a statement he will step down sooner if a successor is hired before that date.

The Tucson-based university is trying to dig out of a $177 million budget shortfall that stems from a miscalculation of cash reserves late last year.

Robbins has said that some of the school's financial troubles also are due to unpaid loans the university provided to the athletics department in recent years. Resources were drained ahead of the school’s move next year from the Pacific-12 Conference to the Big 12, according to Robbins.

The Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s three public universities, reduced Robbins’ annual base salary by 10% last month, from about about $816,000 to nearly $735,000, and said he was no longer eligible for up to $270,000 in other compensation for meeting certain goals.

Robbins had recommended to the regents that his total compensation be significantly reduced.

“This happened on my watch,” Robbins told the Arizona Daily Star after the financial crisis was revealed in November. "I'm totally responsible for it."

Robbins said in a statement to university staff and students Tuesday that “it is time to begin to think about what is next for the university and I will continue to serve the institution and work with ABOR to ensure a smooth transition at the appropriate time.”

He added that “it is the right decision for me and for the university.”

Regents Chair Cecilia Mata said in a statement that the board will conduct a national search for Robbins’ successor.

Last month, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs met with regents and school officials about resolving the university’s financial mismanagement.

“I look forward to continued work to address the University of Arizona’s finances and restore the public’s trust in one of our state’s most important public institutions,” Hobbs said in a statement Tuesday.

Robbins, 66, became the university’s 22nd president in 2017.