The college athletics industrial complex has inflated salaries for football coaches and administrators across the country, according to a survey compiled by USA Today and athleticdirectoru.com.
The survey, which analyzed salaries for both at public universities across the country (private colleges do not make their salaries public), found that average salaries across the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly called Division 1A), which has 129 teams in total, increased 31.9 percent over the last five years.
The survey also revealed another interesting nugget — the Pac-12 ranks last amongst Power-Five conferences in average total compensation ($695,292), with the Atlantic Coast Conference leading the way, averaging a whopping $1.079 million. Big Ten athletic directors have an average salary of $870,536, while the SEC and Big 12 check in at $892,902 and $838,794, respectively.
Another unsurprising, yet interesting nugget from the survey was the disparity between the five power conferences and the rest of the FBS at large, with the Power 5 averaging $876,925 in compensation, compared to a mean division-wide salary of $605,618 in 2017.
Within the Pac-12
A look at the Conference of Champions reveals a stark split in athletic director salary, with UCLA’s Don Guerrero leading the way at $893,501 in base salary.
Surprisingly enough, Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes (formerly the AD at Pitt) ranks second in the conference in base salary, at $850,000.
Arizona Wildcats athletic director Dave Heeke is tied for eighth in salary amongst the conference’s 10 public universities, making an even $500,000 in 2017.
Heeke and Washington State AD Bill Moos, who earn the same base salary, slot just behind University of California-Berkeley’s Michael Williams, who will make $519,000 this year.
The only schools whose athletic directors earn less than Heeke are Utah’s Chris Hill, who earns a paltry $450,000 in base salary, the least in the conference, followed by Washington’s Jennifer Cohen, who makes $460,000 a year.
Three of the four highest paid athletic directors in the nation hail from the ACC, with Louisville’s Tom Jurich and Duke’s Kevin White leading the way, earning $2.7 and $1.4 million dollars this year, respectively.
Guerrero’s salary ranks 12th overall, with Barnes earning the 14th-most of any athletic director in the nation.
How does Arizona compare?
Heeke’s base salary pales in comparison to his predecessor, Greg Byrne, who will make $900,000 this year (most in the Southeastern Conference).
Heeke, 53, falls in line with the average age of Power Five athletic directors, who average 54 years of age (nine years older than Byrne),
In terms of bonus money, Heeke has the potential of tacking on $346,156 this year, while the Pac-12 as a whole averaged $304,376.
Rival Arizona State will pay fourth-year athletic director Ray Anderson $642,600 this year, with a bonus matching his yearly salary.
In total, one thing becomes clear upon reading the survey that it pays to be an athletic director in 2017.