College Athletics Are a Rich Man’s Game

Times are tough for the Average Joe. The national unemployment rate is 8.9% and continues to rise in the worst financial crisis to grip the country since the Great Depression.

Athletic departments are having to deal with budget issues as well, but according to a study earlier this year by Bloomberg, athletic directors appear to be prospering even in challenging times.

There are now 10 athletic directors who are paid more than $500,000 a year. Florida’s Jeremy Foley leads the pack with a salary of nearly $1 million. Kansas’ Lew Perkins pulls down $900,000 and Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez is paid $750,000.

WoolardBrett McMurphy of the Tampa Tribune compared the salaries to athletic department budgets. Perkins was the highest-paid athletic director in the Bowl Championship Series based on the percentage of his salary compared with the school’s athletic department budget, which is $57.8 million.

Next was South Florida’s Doug Woolard, right, who has an annual salary of $421,950 in a department with a budget of $34.7 million, second-lowest among Big East schools. Foley has the third-highest percentage, followed by Illinois’ Ron Guenther and Georgia Tech’s Dan Radakovich.

Bloomberg notes that most athletic directors enjoy other perks, such as country club memberships, cars and spousal travel to athletic events.

One surprising find was the salary of Nebraska’s Tom Osborne. The former Cornhusker coach makes $261,000, which is third-lowest among athletic directors at BCS schools. Only the salaries of Mississippi State’s Greg Byrne ($175,000) and West Virginia’s Ed Pastilong ($240,750) were lower.

Outgoing Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny donates all but
$25,884 of his salary back to the school, according to Bloomberg.

A look at the average athletic director salaries by conference.Conference Averages.001

Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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