From USA Today:
Following the lead of the $5million football coach, athletics directors might be next to hit the college sports salary jackpot.
ADs average about $450,000 at the NCAA’s top-tier schools, according to a USA TODAY analysis, rivaling the pay of many university presidents. But at least six ADs make more than $1million, and since August 2010, at least 10 public schools have given their ADs pay raises of $75,000 or more.
The job has gone from coach emeritus to one that has attracted at least one former multinational CEO: Dave Brandon, who at Domino’s Pizza oversaw more than $6billion in annual sales and 180,000 employees. As athletics director at the University of Michigan, his $700,454 pay is lower than some of his employees’.
At top NCAA programs, athletics directors handle $100million budgets, steer licensing and media contracts totaling several times that and manage facilities worth billions. The best ADs are rainmakers who make the deals and align the stars that finance big-time athletics. And if pay for top talent in the 120-school Football Bowl Subdivision is a market — as many argue to justify the rocketing salaries of head and assistant coaches — then AD pay appears headed for the up escalator.
Few ADs are more aware of their market value than Brandon. In 2009, he made more than $4.2million — including stock, options and incentives — according to Domino’s company statements. As Michigan’s AD, his salary is less than that of Michigan’s defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, who makes $750,000.
Even so, Brandon’s pay is nearly double his predecessor’s. “Certainly I wanted to be paid fairly and competitively,” says Brandon, 59, a former Michigan football player and Michigan regent. “But obviously, if everything I was about in this stage of my career was making as much money as possible, I would have stayed.”
Bringing in former CEOs to run athletic departments is likely to increase, especially as cash-strapped schools are increasingly insisting that athletics run without subsidies and student fees (only seven did in 2010).
“I think you will see more people making the transition and doing it gladly,” says Andy Dolich, a former pro sports executive who consults with schools, including Michigan, for marketing giant IMG. There’s evidence they might bring their salaries with them. Among the top schools, about one in 12 ADs make more than $900,000.
“There has been an explosion in cost that bothers me enormously,” says LSU chancellor Michael Martin, whose school recently gave AD Joe Alleva a $175,000 raise when Tennessee expressed interest. “On the other hand, I’m contributing … doing exactly what I’ve done.”
All in the name of education, all done as a tax-exempt non-profit.