Sampson’s IU salary starts at $1.1 million

Sampson’s IU salary starts at $1.1 million

Contract: Sampson’s pay could be reduced if he’s penalized for NCAA violations while at OU

By Steve Hinnefeld, Herald-Times

April 13, 2006

Kelvin Sampson will be paid $1.1 million to coach men’s basketball in his first year at Indiana University. Then he’ll get a big bump in compensation – unless the NCAA decides otherwise.

Starting in July 2007, Sampson will be paid just over $1.6 million a year for the next six years of his seven-year contract, according to an agreement made available Wednesday to The Herald-Times.

The agreement says IU could reduce Sampson’s pay if the NCAA imposes financial sanctions as a result of rules violations that took place when he was basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma.

His contract isn’t yet complete, but the university released a March 29 memo of understanding – signed by Sampson and IU Athletic Director Rick Greenspan and President Adam Herbert – outlining the conditions of Sampson’s employment in response to an H-T public-records request.

It says Sampson’s base salary will be $500,000 a year. He also will receive compensation for promotional, media and marketing duties and from apparel contracts.

Through June 30, 2007, the additional compensation will be $600,000. After that, the additional pay will be $1.11 million a year for five years, then $1.15 million in the final year of the contract.

Greenspan said donations will supplement athletics funds in paying Sampson.

The agreement also provides:

• Standard IU benefits.

• The use of two vehicles.

• A total of $375,000 in salary plus benefits for three assistant coaches.

• Bonuses of $50,000 if IU reaches the NCAA Final Four or $100,000 if it wins a national championship.

It says Sampson will pay IU $500,000 if he leaves before his contract expires. If IU fires him, it will have to buy out his contract unless he is dismissed “for cause.”

IU hired Sampson last month to replace Mike Davis, who was paid $800,000 a year. Davis was hired last week as head coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Sanctions could be costly

Sampson’s first-year pay at IU is about the same as he made in his previous job. Oklahoma froze his pay at $1.05 million for two years starting in 2005 under self-imposed sanctions resulting from the basketball rules violations. It also reduced scholarships and phone calls, recruiting contacts and campus visits with recruits.

Oklahoma will face the NCAA infractions committee next week in Park City, Utah, about the violations. The NCAA could continue sanctions on the university, Sampson or both.

The NCAA found that Oklahoma coaches made impermissible phone calls to 17 recruits between 2000 and 2004 and improperly gave T-shirts to one recruit and a parent of another.

“If the NCAA imposes sanctions against you personally for those actions,” the IU agreement with Sampson says, “or if the NCAA requires that your prior employer’s sanctions against you be enforced, Indiana University shall impose those same sanctions against you.”

Once any sanctions are lifted, IU will make Sampson one of the highest-paid college basketball coaches. According to reports, Tubby Smith at Kentucky, Billy Donovan at Florida, Tom Crean at Marquette, Rick Pitino at Louisville, John Calipari at Memphis and Tom Izzo at Michigan State make $1.6 million or more.

Sampson’s base salary is more than that of any other IU employee, including Herbert. Football coach Terry Hoeppner’s total pay is $600,000.

Skewed priorities?

The numbers raise eyebrows for faculty who see runaway spending for athletics salaries and facilities as contrary to colleges’ academic missions.

“Most universities are not flush with money these days,” said Nathan Tublitz, a neurobiology professor at the University of Oregon and co-chairman of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, a faculty group that includes IU. “If the athletics department needs more money than they can raise, they draw from the university general fund, and that’s money taken away from academics.”

In a December 2005 report, the faculty coalition blamed spiraling coaches’ salaries on “the extraordinary value schools have come to place on winning in high-profile sports.” Tublitz said it’s a sign of skewed priorities when coaches make more than anyone else.

“It’s a sad commentary when the highest-paid state employee in almost every state is the football or basketball coach.”

NCAA President Myles Brand said in a January address that universities should follow a “collegiate model” that meshes athletics and academic goals, but he didn’t call for restraints on spending.

“Our main message,” said NCAA spokesman Kent Barrett, “has really been that institutions, when setting salaries and making spending decisions, need to make sure what they’re spending fits within the institutional mission.”