Nearly Half of FBS Coaches Earn More than $1 Million Annually

USA Today published its annual football coaches’ salary report on December 8.  It includes discussion about Fresno State’s Pat Hill, who accepted a reduction in guaranteed pay from $952,000 to $650,000 as a result of the institution’s overall budget woes. The headline points out that Hill’s situation is “a rarity.” The report includes five articles and a database of the compensation for 100 of the 120 coaches in the FBS. Several interesting points from the articles and graphs:

  • Nearly half of the coaches earn over $1 million, up from 42 in 2006 and 25 earn over $2 million, up from 9 in 2006.
  • “The national average is $1.36 million, up 35% from three years ago but essentially the same as last season’s. It’s the first time USA Today hasn’t calculated an increase since beginning its annual study in 2006, a possible reflection of the tough economy and struggles across higher education amid cuts in state appropriations and shrinking endowments.”
  • “Forever, we’ve talked about the market and ‘we’ve got to be competitive’ and blah, blah, blah, blah,” Iowa State University Athletic Director Jamie Pollard says. “At some point, I can’t worry about what other people are doing, because the market’s so ridiculous. It’s irrational. I can only control what I can control, which is what we do at Iowa State. It’s my belief that our industry is going to kill the golden goose, and we’ve got to show some kind of rational restraint.”

Additionally, USA Today published an article about the lack of transparency for some compensation.

NCAA Article 11.2.2 requires that coaches provide their schools with a full accounting of their income and benefits from outside sources. Open-records laws require public schools to provide documents, including those relating to compensation, to anyone who asks.

However, 15 of the 99 public schools that play in the Bowl Subdivision, college football’s highest level declined to provide outside income reports to USA Today.

Institutions in Utah, Connecticut, Minnesota and Nebraska declined to provide outside income reports because state law shields that information. Schools in Oregon often decline to provide it because state law and public policy require a coach’s permission for it to be released.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provided documentation that shows coach Butch Davis gets money from Learfield Communications for coaches shows and from Nike but declined to say how much he earns on the deals.

“Only specific itemized employee information for state employees is public” under state law, according to an e-mail from Mike McFarland, director of university communications. “All other information is confidential. That list of itemized public information does not include external compensation.”

However, the other two FBS schools in North Carolina provided complete outside income reports. East Carolina University football coach Ruffin McNeill gets $2,000 from Nike as well as use of a 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe and memberships in a country club and a gym.  North Carolina State University football coach Tom O’Brien makes $887,800 in outside income — $775,000 from Capital Broadcasting, $112,500 from Adidas and $300 from a local sports club.

Joni Worthington, vice president for communications of the University of North Carolina system, said: “We are conferring with the general counsels on our various campuses to get a better understanding of the rationale for how they interpret these requests to make sure that they are being handled consistently.”

Amy Perko, executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which urges reform in big-time college sports, said her organization does not comment on individual schools. However, she said speaking generally the organization believes in transparency on all expenditures in college athletics, including coaches’ compensation.

“The NCAA needs to pass a rule that would require athletic departments to disclose their NCAA reports that show revenues and expenses and total coaches’ compensation.”

The following links will take you to the articles: