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Southeast Conference Athletic Directors' Pay

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The good folks over at USA Today have continued their efforts to nail down the numbers when it comes to the pay scales in higher education athletics. The newspaper's newest effort accounts for the pay of every athletic director for schools in the NCAA's Football Subdivision (formerly Division 1-A).

The paper's analysis found that the average AD salary for the NCAA's top-tier schools was in the $450,000 range. Every AD in the Southeastern Conference surpassed that mark except for Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The other surprises were mostly explained in the supplementary notes which we'll go into below.

So here is the list of all the SEC AD's pay scales from the USA Today online database. For the sake of simplicty, this chart simply shows the total pay of each athletic director since the additional pay listed were almost all for a fraction of the administrators actual salary.

School Athletic Dir. Total Pay Max Bonus
Alabama Mal Moore $562,000 $255,000
Arkansas Jeff Long $562,900 $450,000
Auburn Jay Jacobs $605,500 $150,000
Florida Jeremy Foley $1,545,250 $50,000
Georgia Greg McGarity $465,500 $0
Kentucky Mitch Barnhart $655,050 $240,000
LSU Joe Alleva $725,000 $100,000
Ole Miss Pete Boone $429,287 $35,774
Miss State Scott Stricklin $300,000 $14,583
S. Carolina Eric Hyman $504,000 $75,000
Tennessee Dave Hart  $750,000 $0
Vanderbilt David Williams $2,560,505 $0
Texas A&M Bill Byrne $690,000 $287,500
Missouri Mike Alden $659,775 $308,161

Yes, Vanderbilt and Florida have the two best-paid AD's in all the land. But these both come with a flotilla of caveats. In Vanderbilt's case, David Williams serves as the school's AD but as part of his duties as vice chancellor for university affairs and athletics. He also serves as the school's general counsel as well as university secretary for Vanderbilt and its medical center. Oh, and he's also a tenured law professor.

Next up is Florida's Jeremy Foley. His compensation is linked to the largest in a series of bonuses that were part of his last contract. So if he's still the Gator's AD come Jan. 31, 2012 he'll get a cool $550,000 on top of his normal salary. With almost two decades at the helm of Florida athletics there's not a lot of reason to believe the future bonuses outlined in his deal with Florida won't be claimed as well.

A few other quick notes:

  • A glance at the pay for Dave Hart at Tennessee versus the amount made by Mal Moore at Alabama may shine a bit of light on the reason the recent move to Knoxville by the Crimson Tide alumnus. Outside the unusual contract situations with Foley and Williams, he's the best paid AD in the conference.
  • Kentucky football might be woeful but the success of Wildcat hoops has kept Mitch Barnhart well compensated for his efforts in Lexington.His new contract signed in February runs through 2019.
  • LSU's high level of performance at a number of sports over the past several years is likely the reason for Joe Alleva's prominent pay rate. It's a notable turnaround given his turbulent departure from Duke three years ago.
  • Mississippi State's Scott Stricklin is by far the least compensated AD in the conference. Given he's only been at the post a year and was an associate AD at Kentucky prior to that but... comon Bulldogs, you're getting outspent by Tulsa.

For the sake of comparison, I've included SEC newcomer Texas A&M's AD's numbers as well as prospective newcomer Missouri's. Their pay puts them in the top tier of SEC administrators but one can certainly argue that if they pull off the move to the Southeast Conference for their schools, it would make sense to think they are being adequately compensated for their services.