Thanks to a quirk in tax reporting by athletic departments, we now know that Notre Dame paid their athletic director and head football coach nearly the same amount back in 2017. Before anybody pours one out for Brian Kelly however, just note that he did in fact make more than Jack Swarbrick two years ago — we just don’t know how much.
As noted by ace USA Today reporter Steve Berkowitz this week, the Irish’s 2017 tax returns were released publicly and saw Swarbrick haul in some $1.7 million over that same calendar year. That’s remarkably nearly the exact same amount the school directly paid Kelly.
It should be noted however that even though the football coach and his boss were on equal footing, that doesn’t account for the (likely millions upon millions) that Kelly collected from other sources. Typically for a head coach this includes cash from apparel deal (like ND’s with Under Armour), radio/TV appearances and other obligations with booster organizations. Add all that up and Kelly was likely in line with many of his peers on the national level at $4+ million.
Still, it’s notable for Swarbrick to take home that much and it not surprisingly places him near the top of the mountain in terms of athletic director pay. His job is a bit bigger than some of his peers due to Notre Dame’s football independence and unique position in NCAA and College Football Playoff governance but it is always good to put a number with a name given the lack of general transparency private schools have in these sorts of matters.