Arian Foster revealed he accepted money at Tennessee. His former offensive coordinator, Duke coach David Cutcliffe, had little sympathy for him. Over the course of the rant, he claimed that “nobody is really getting rich” from college athletics.
“I’m sorry to disagree with so many intelligent people that seem to think they understand the circumstance. And nobody is really getting rich off of this, we’re operating an athletics department off of all this. Do you understand how much it costs to operate an athletic department? We have 26 varsity sports and recreation. A lot of facilities and a lot of people are in place here to make it better for the student-athlete. That’s a lot of money to operate all of that. Nobody is stealing from them, you understand what I’m saying?
Cutcliffe could define “rich” differently than the rest of us. After all, he has spent his career in major college athletics. But, still, that statement is pretty incredible.
Duke is, arguably, the worst football job in the big five conferences. Winning six games is a noteworthy accomplishment. That still earns Cutcliffe $1.79 million per year, with a contract through 2019. Eight of his ACC colleagues are earning more than $2 million per year. His basketball counterpart, Mike Krzyzewski earns $7.2 million per year.
Cutcliffe is correct. It’s expensive to run an athletic department at top level. Much of the reason for that is people really getting rich. Michigan, for instance, has 61 athletic department employees earning $100,000 or more. That includes the coaches for Softball ($200K), Women’s Soccer ($167K), Women’s Gymnastics ($166K), Baseball ($150K), Men’s Swimming ($140K), Women’s Field Hockey ($135K), Women’s Track ($131K), Women’s Tennis ($126K), Men’s Soccer ($125K), Women’s Volleyball ($123K), Women’s Lacrosse ($113K), Women’s Cross Country ($111K), Wresting ($110K), Men’s Lacrosse ($103K) and Men’s Tennis ($100K). That number includes 18 assistant coaches or trainers in various sports. It also includes 24 administrative staff members who play no direct role in the functioning of the sport.
Those figures do not factor in various forms of indirect compensation. It lists Brady Hoke’s $300,000 base salary. His actual compensation is more than 10 times that. Basketball coach John Beilein is listed as making $206,000. His actual compensation is $2.45 million per year. Al Borges and Greg Mattison earn much more than their listed $250,000. Athletic director David Brandon’s $800,000 base salary increases to more than $1 million over the course of his new deal and does not include hundreds of thousands in bonuses. Even those numbers don’t include “extra benefits” typically offered, such as golf course memberships, having cars comped, interest free loans, use of private jets and whatever other services boosters wish to provide that aren’t part of the contract.
Administrators, of course, need administrators. Looking at conference commissioners, Larry Scott of the Pac 12 earned $3.1 million in total compensation. Jim Delany at the Big Ten earns $1.8 million. Mike Slive at the SEC earns $1.6 million. John Swofford at the ACC makes $1.5 million. We can’t find Bob Bowlsby’s Big 12 compensation as of this writing, but his predecessor Dan Beebe earned $1.7 million. Each man has assistants and staffs that work under them. These administrators to the administrators also need administration. Mark Emmert earns $1.7 million to head the NCAA.
Those are just the folks involved directly with the athletic side of things. The average top BCS bowl executive earns more than $500,000 per year in compensation, to put on one football game per year. That number will surely increase, as the new postseason pays more money into the bowl system.
We’re not sure how much television revenue the sport generates total, but presumably “getting rich” is the reason TV networks have committed more than $16 billion dollars for regular season football to the five major conferences. We could also throw in all sorts of marketing companies, companies selling officially licensed products and consulting firms. We’re probably forgetting some people.
It’s far easier to name the people involved who aren’t “really getting rich” from college athletics: the players.
[Photos via USA Today Sports]