For those of you who have a genuine problem understanding why I go on at length about the unfairness of student-athlete compensation because, after all, money coming into the school is for the school’s benefit, let me introduce you to the University of Louisville.
When University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich announced a new $160 million, 10-year deal with athletic apparel giant Adidas on Aug. 25, a reporter asked him if some of the proceeds would be shared with the university.
“It’s for the athletic department,” Jurich replied. “It’s for these student-athletes. It’s been earmarked for them.”
In fact, under the current deal with Adidas, which expires July 1, 98 percent of the cash provided by Adidas goes to one person: Rick Pitino, the now-suspended head coach.
In 2015-16, for example, $1.5 million went to Pitino under his personal services agreement with the apparel company while just $25,000 went to the program, according to a contract obtained by the Courier-Journal under the state public records act.
The year before, Pitino also got $1.5 million, while the department banked just $10,000.
Under the existing and new contracts, any money that Adidas pays to University of Louisville coaches under personal service agreements is deducted from what the company gives to the athletic program.
Was it fair for Jurich to say the Adidas money was for student-athletes?
Kenny Klein, the department’s spokesman, said it was.
“Players come here in part because of Coach Pitino. Coaching is part of what we give to student-athletes,” Klein said last month before a bribery scandal prompted the suspensions of Jurich and Pitino.
Those players are such lucky ducks. Such a deal.
By the way, Jurich was making some pretty sweet bank himself.
Over the past seven years, through a byzantine array of longevity and performance bonuses, base pay raises and tax subsidies, Jurich collected total compensation of $19,279,710, an average of $2.76 million per year.
Last year, his taxable income – enriched by the vesting of a $1.8 million annuity plus $1.6 million from the university to pay his taxes on it – totaled $5.3 million.
Although the annuity was earned over several years and will be paid out in $200,000 installments, his listed income last year was more than the university budgeted for its departments of Biology ($3.3 million), English ($4 million), History ($2.4 million) or Mathematics ($3.5 million).
The topper to all this largesse? Despite raking in tons of dough, the athletic department needed $7 million per year in subsidies from the university to avoid finishing in the red the past two years.
“There used to be a firewall between athletics and university,” Jurich said. “We wanted to break that down.”
That’s been a success. And they’ve preserved the firewall between athletics and student-athletes! Amateurism is a gas, gas, gas, man.