STORRS, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hall of Fame basketball coach Geno Auriemma has weighed into Connecticut’s budget battle, offering to go unpaid next year in response to criticism over high salaries at UConn.

Connecticut still has no state budget, more than two months into the fiscal year, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, has vowed to veto a Republican-backed budget passed by the Legislature, in part because it contains large cuts to UConn.

Auriemma, who has coached the school’s women’s basketball teams to 11 national titles, told the Hartford Courant he worries education cuts will mean his grandchildren won’t be able to go to an affordable state university.

“I do not want to come across as someone who doesn’t understand what the realities are,” he told the newspaper. “Not unlike a lot of states, Connecticut is facing real issues of how to pay its obligations. Some people are going to get hurt. I don’t know if anyone is going to get helped. This is like a family issue. Everybody is going to have to suffer a little bit.

Geno Auriemma

Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

“You try to be fair to everyone, real about what your priorities are and don’t let politics get in the way. Whether it’s the politics of UConn lobbying for its benefit or one party or another — one’s in favor, one’s against — and then it’s less about the issue and more about who’s going to be right and who’s going to be wrong.”

Auriemma is slated to make more than $2 million next year. He offered to forgo his pay after reading comments from a lawmaker who justified cuts by saying that a lot of people at UConn make a lot of money.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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