Powered by

2017-18 Autonomy 5 Athletics Directors’ Compensation Survey

By Robert Lattinville & Roger Denny -
Spencer Fane, LLP

We reviewed all forms of compensation for the athletics directors at member institutions in the Autonomy 5 Conferences. We analyzed these employment agreements and related documents (the, “Contracts”), which were obtained in partnership with USAToday, and created a sortable database of primary compensation (click here to view the FBS Athletic Director Database, the “Database”).

 

Unlike the market for college coaches, there is not a traditional hiring period for college athletic directors. Consequently, the awarding, termination and administration of their Contracts, including adjustments to the duration and compensation prescribed by those Contracts, occurs throughout the calendar year.  Thus, total compensation for college athletic directors is typically more difficult to normalize at any given time relative to compensation for college coaches. An independent methodology (described in the Database) was consistently applied to the analysis of each Contract in order to normalize the economic data derived therefrom and enhance its comparative utility.

 

From the foregoing analysis, we respectfully submit . . .

 

Five Takeaways:

 

  1. Average Total Compensation By Conference

 

 

  1. Total Compensation Relative to School’s Athletic Department Revenue and Expense1

 

 

Athletics Director Fulmer’s compensation is based on an Appointment Letter. It has been reported that the University of Tennessee is negotiating a multi-year contract for Athletic Director Fulmer that includes annual guaranteed compensation of $900,000. If that contract takes effect, then the lowest annual compensation relative to departmental revenue will be the contract of Texas A&M Athletic Director Scott Woodward (0.48%) and the contract with the lowest annual guaranteed compensation relative to departmental expenses will be that of University of Washington Athletic Director Jennifer Cohen (0.48%).

 

  1. Increase in Compensation within the past 5 years

 

* Average Total Compensation Increase: $46,465 (8.95%). This year over year increase lags the annual compensation growth rate for football and men’s basketball head coaches

 

* Highest Increase (Same School, Same AD): Athletic Director Swarbrick (increase of $1,866,351, or 157.56%). Notably, this increase arises as a result of bonus compensation totaling over $1.8M as reported in Notre Dame’s most recent 990 filing

 

* Highest Increase (Same School, New AD): Texas (Perrin to Del Conte, increase of $685,000, or 91.33%)

 

  1. Bonus Compensation

 

The average bonus compensation available to an Autonomy 5 athletic director is $199,733 (representing 23.98% of average total compensation). The average maximum available bonus amounts increased less than 1.0% over last year, supporting our finding that schools rarely revise an athletics director’s bonus schedule.

 

  1. AD Compensation relative to Coach Compensation (Autonomy 5 FB & MBB   Head Coaches)

 

 

 

Postscript

 

In the coming weeks we will complete and publish via ADU compensation analyses for all Football Bowl Subdivision institutions for which compensation data is available.

 

12015-2016 athletic department revenue and expense were obtained from the USAToday database found at http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/, where available.

 

Articles
The Importance Of Clear Expectations For NCAA Coaches And Their Immediate Supervisors

A condition of conference membership requires schools to license their rights to the conference, which distributes revenue equally among member institutions, and should, in theory, benefit the schools. But women’s gymnastics and men’s lacrosse are both niche sports which enjoy large, loyal fan affinity and an increasing number of youth athletes. Imagine a situation where niche sports content is delivered directly to a growing market in places where the market and enthusiastic fan bases exist.

Articles
Real Opportunities, Not Just Degrees: UC Davis’ Kevin Blue

When a student-athlete is recruited, athletics programs make a promise that they will act in the best interest of the student-athlete: “If you come here, we will look out for you. We will set you up for a successful life.”   Historically, athletics departments fulfilled this promise by helping student-athletes stay eligible and graduate with

Articles
Athletic Director In Residence: Dr. Brian Wickstrom – Incarnate Word

Barry Alvarez, Director of Athletics at Wisconsin, discusses empowering each sport administrator with the responsibility of having a "short list" of viable and qualified candidates in the case of head coaching vacancy. On the topic of the communicating with staff, Coach Alvarez talks about the importance of every role on staff and communicating his expectations in a clear and direct manner, just as he did when he was leading the Badgers’ football program. Additional topics covered include recruiting, an AD’s relationship with his/her President/Chancellor, leadership styles, staff evaluation and advancement, the future of the industry and mor