Being a punching bag of public criticism is not without its benefits, as NCAA president Mark Emmert’s pay package shows.
USA Today obtained the NCAA’s most recent tax return listing the compensation paid out to top executives and not surprisingly the organization’s leader was the runaway leader when it came to cashing checks. Emmert was listed with a base salary of $1,462,838 in 2015 (a 3.5% increase over 2014 per the paper) and the rest of his remaining payout coming in the form of benefits and deferred compensation. He is signed through October of 2020 to run the NCAA in a recent contract extension that was signed last year.
The figure puts Emmert behind many of his peers in college athletics, namely the Power Five commissioners who are all over the $2 million mark. The association’s president wasn’t the only one to be well compensated however, as a whopping 10 others made more than $415,000 in 2015, the most recent figures provided by the NCAA’s 2016 fiscal year return.
Most notable among that group was former West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, who is essentially Emmert’s second in command and holds the title of NCAA executive vice president. Luck received the highest bonus doled out by the association ($50,000 bonus) and wound up taking just over $800,000 home.
Somewhat buried in the report was also the NCAA’s legal costs, which have been spiraling in recent years as they’ve gone to court to defend many of their core beliefs. Outside legal costs were reported as $33.5 million and bring the combined total up to a remarkable $72.4 million over the past three tax returns the association has released.
College athletes may not be allowed to be compensated but it certainly seems pretty clear based on these figures that is not the case for those that run the $1 billion enterprise.