Worth every penny

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.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

25 responses to “Worth every penny

  1. 92 grad

    Sometimes when you post up financial realities in CFB I’m just left with the overall sentiment that there’s simply too much cash moving around for everyone to behave. Money breeds greed and corruption and it is well hidden behind the modern television era where we all can watch all the games from home. Nice big smokescreen and the winds are calm.


  2. Tronan

    Academic administration has become such a grift. The administrators combine the worst attributes of the business world (counterproductive trends du jour that industry discarded years ago) with the worst attributes of the “not-for-profit” world (incompetent, petty, self-serving hierarchies with little to no accountability). There are a lot of factors contributing to the skyrocketing cost of tuition, but an easy way to reduce at least some of the expense would be to blow up the current academic governance model and stop pissing away money on swindlers like Jurich.


  3. HVL Dawg

    That Louisville Biology Department hasn’t won anything.


  4. AusDawg85

    The NCAA’s new financial model going forward. SA’s earn $100,000 in addition to scholarships and stipends. However, they must pay for the privilege of being coached by (insert HC name here) an amount up to….$100,000. All proceeds go to named coach and staff.

    Errbody happy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dog in Fla

    “98 percent of the cash provided by Adidas goes to one person: Rick Pitino, the now-suspended head coach.”


  6. Macallanlover

    Put the excess money back into other sports and sports facilities. Against giving it to the school, or players. Let them travel first class and have the medical and training attention, etc, Stop wasting it on waterfalls, over paid coaches/ADs, etc.


    • How would you do that without running afoul of antitrust law, Mac? NCAA already lost once on regulating assistant coaching salaries.


      • Macallanlover

        Decision makers decide to reallocate revenue, happens all the time when you see an imbalance of resources whether it be financial, or personnel. Forget the subject of how to pay athletes for a minute, aren’t you surprised that more wasn’t given to other areas of the athletic department? Look at UGA’s need for a better venue for baseball, tennis, and basketball. And I am sure there are other dozens of priority needs that I simply don’t know about, outside of Sanford’s shortcomings.

        To just throw money at salaries with percentage increases in the 300-800% range over a period less than a decade seems short sided to me. I know everyone played follow the leader into this mess, they could also play follow a better leader out. I understand market competition dynamics, and have a decent working knowledge of anti-trust concerns from my corporate days, but this seems to be a car out of control on a slick road. It isn’t that the schools cannot afford to over pay but they look pretty silly as they throw money around in a reckless way that should embarrass their business schools. I know the path out is loaded with landmines, but a few steps back, and a good PR campaign, could pressure others to stop the misguided spending war.


  7. TnDawg

    I get that the athletes are getting screwed by some, not all, administrations. And I am on the side of paying them. But, I have yet to see a plan where that is feasible. Sure don’t want the NCAA involved in the planning and execution.

    Without a well thought out plan, paying them will lead to chaos in college athletics.


  8. Normaltown Mike

    ADIDAS = All Day I Dream About Sacks of Cold Hard Cash


  9. cardawgrapher

    All that money from Adidas & Pitino still couldn’t get an adult-sized jersey for his ESPN College GameDay appearance.


    • Dog in Fla

      The condition for Coach-2 from University-6 to become a secret FBI informant is that he gets the awesome code name of “Skintight”


  10. The other Doug

    I blame Enron. If that company had never collapsed a lot of these coaches and ADs would be working there instead of ruining college sports.


  11. Hogbody Spradlin

    We can congratulate ourselves. This can be traced in a straight line back to the mid 80’s lawsuit by Georgia and Oklahoma that opened the game broadcast floodgates.


    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      I agree that we play a part, but that one lawsuit didn’t do much except point out that the NCAA was an emperor without clothes. That was over 30 years ago and the ridiculous inflation we now experience doesn’t seem that old to me. For example, unless it was a special holiday (Labor Day, Thanksgiving) we didn’t play at night – didn’t even have lights until about 1981. Neither Ray Goff nor Jim Donnan made the money CMR got. I blame ESPN more.


      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Pardon me arguing Dylan. I could be wrong, but the issue of the lawsuit was that the NCAA controlled how many times a team could be on TV per season. If that’s correct, then once that control was broken, what came after was the ESPN’s rushing to broadcast the available product, to meet the market demand to see Ole Wassamala U 10 times a season.


        • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

          No pardon necessary, but I just recall that suit in the early/mid 80s, and watching ESPN in the 90s when mostly what they were showing during the week was lumberjack competitions and such. I don’t think they got into 24/7/365 football/basketball until Disney and ABC bought it. I am just saying it took awhile. Of course, we bit hard on that bait, but I am getting like the Senator in that the control on the players is unconscionable at this point. There was a time when the NCAA rules seemed like a decent way to have a little parity which seemed like a good thing and the players got an education, and the school benefited from the excess $$, and football funded other non-revenue sports, it all seemed like a fairy tale. Which apparently, it was. Does it seem bad that a very few folks have leveraged major $$$ into their pockets using these rules? It does to me.

          Yes, we opened Pandora’s box with that lawsuit, but what has happened since was hardly a foregone conclusion. I am just going to say that if one of these suits gets to a jury, the NCAA doesn’t want me on that jury. That said, this is a perfect opportunity for those in charge of the game to clean all this up and make it better.

          In the immortal words of Jim Bouton, yeah, suuurre. 😉

          PS: I will admit that I will still watch games in the meanwhile.


  12. doofusdawg

    Shine the light on these assholes.