To determine the total pay packages of Power 5 athletics directors we requested all forms of compensation for the athletics directors at public schools. Several of the Power 5 schools are private or are public schools covered under state law exempting them from releasing salary data on athletics directors. For those schools, we used compensation information from the school’s most recent Internal Revenue Service Form 990. Since contract years varied greatly among the operative employment agreements of the schools surveyed, we attempted to determine Base Salary and Other Compensation for the contract year that included May 1, 2021. Compensation adjustments not memorialized in writing as of the date of the document request may affect compensation totals as do pay reductions made pursuant to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.  A not available (N/A) in the chart denotes schools that are private or did not release the information or schools whose athletics directors are relatively new and the schools had not yet filed a 990 covering compensation for the current athletics directors.




BASE SALARY:  Income designated as Base Salary in the Contracts, which sum is used to determine the schools’ benefits obligations such as retirement contributions.


OTHER UNIVERSITY COMPENSATION:  Income from Contract provisions other than Base Salary that is paid, or guaranteed, by the university or affiliated organizations, such as a foundation. Examples include payments in consideration for: shoe and apparel use; television, radio or other media appearances; personal appearances.


It also includes deferred payments earned annually, conditional or otherwise; certain payments based on attendance, ticket revenue or sales; contractual expense accounts (if unaudited) or housing allowances; signing and other one-time bonuses earned in the current contract year. These one-time or non-recurring payments may skew an athletic director’s compensation in a given year. 


It does not include amounts that may have been earned as annual incentive bonuses in other years, the value of standard university benefits such as health care or the value of potentially taxable items called for in Contracts such as cars; country club memberships; game tickets for the regular season, postseason and other sports; the value of stadium suites, travel upgrades, private aircraft or spouse/family travel and game tickets.


TOTAL COMPENSATION: Sum of university compensation plus, in limited circumstances, outside income (unlike head coaches, ADs rarely receive outside income for endorsements or speaking engagements).


MAXIMUM BONUS: The greatest amount that can be received for meeting all prescribed performance goals (for instance: departmental academic and financial benchmarks; or competitive achievements of all or specific teams), and/or athlete conduct rules-and compliance goals.  It typically does not include possible payments based on percentages of ticket revenue or sales or departmental fundraising amounts, unless such amounts can be independently determined.  Additionally, bonuses based on championships for all of an athletics departments’ teams have been adjusted based on historical performance.  



By: Robert Lattinville of WME and his research assistant, Rachel Solverud.  Assistance in procuring documents provided by USA Today in partnership with  Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.