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College Sports Executives Salaries Soar


By David Martin

In a decade, tax records show, average commissioner pay in the so-called “Power Five” — the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Southeastern and Pacific-12 conferences — has soared from about $541,000 to $2.58 million. As a reward for making an industry fueled by unpaid athletes more lucrative than ever, the men who run these conferences have enjoyed staggering pay hikes doled out by the leaders of many of America’s largest universities.

In 2014, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott made $3.4 million, which is more than six times the $533,000 his predecessor made in 2004. (All 2004 figures in this story have been adjusted for inflation.) Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby made $2.3 million, more than quadruple the $495,000 the position paid a decade before.

While Scott and Bowlsby are still relatively new, three longtime commissioners saw their pay skyrocket from 2004 to 2014 to do the same job. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany’s pay jumped from $549,000 to $3.1 million; ACC Commissioner John Swofford’s went from $571,000 to more than $2 million; and former SEC Commissioner Michael Slive’s increased from $558,000 to $2.05 million. (Slive retired last year; his successor Greg Sankey’s pay has not yet been made public through tax filings.)

From 2004 to 2014, the average CEO of a large American firm got a 15 percent raise, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute. The stingiest raise for a Power Five commissioner during that time: 258 percent, for the ACC’s Swofford.

To critics of amateurism in college sports, such as economist Andy Schwarz, soaring commissioner pay isn’t surprising. In the era of DVR and Netflix, when television networks pay more than ever to broadcast live sporting events, these conferences are seeing the same income growth as professional sports leagues without one major expense: player salaries.

Washington Post, front page today.  Now if they'd just write something this serious about the UNC scandal...



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