Big 12 athletic directors rank as highest paid among FBS

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

I came across some interesting figures that the Bloomberg News Service compiled earlier this year about salaries for athletic directors at FBS schools (hat tip to Brett McMurphy of the Tampa Tribune).

The most interesting nugget I found in the story was that Big 12 athletic directors are the top paid of any conference in the nation.

The 11 Big 12 athletic directors Bloomberg News Service was able to obtain through filing public records requests with each public university indicated that Big 12 athletic directors averaged a salary of $470,783.

That figure was $29,506 higher than the average salary of the Big Ten's athletic directors, which ranked second among the other conferences.

The Big 12 numbers did not include Baylor, which was not included because it is a private institution. I would presume it to have one of the lower athletic budgets and salary structures in the conference.

The Big Ten's numbers didn't include Penn State or Northwestern. So when all of the numbers are included, I would imagine the Big 12 and Big Ten numbers are comparable.

Among the top 10 highest-paid athletic directors in the country, the Big 12 has four of them. They include Kansas' Lew Perkins ($900,000, second), Oklahoma's Joe Castiglione ($700,000, fourth), Texas A&M's Bill Byrne ($690,000, fifth) and Texas' DeLoss Dodds ($627,109, seventh). The nation's highest-paid athletic director is Jeremy Foley of Florida, who earns $965,000 per year.

But I thought a more interesting extrapolation could be gleaned by looking at the athletic director's salary and then comparing it as a percentage of the school's total athletic budget. Those numbers are especially enlightening.

As the numbers below indicate, Perkins' compensation represents nearly 1.56 percent of Kansas' total athletic budget.

Perkins' value should be noted. The Jayhawks are coming off a national championship in men's basketball and have made back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time in the school's history in football. Most importantly, Perkins has lined up men's basketball coach Bill Self and football coach Mark Mangino to long-term contracts.

Another noticeable surprise was Texas' compensation for DeLoss Dodds, who was among the highest-paid athletic directors in the country, but not at the very top. Considering the school's standing in athletics, I might have considered that Dodds would rank higher.

And the two Big 12 athletic directors at the bottom direct the fortunes of two of the six schools with the largest budgets.

Tom Osborne's value to Nebraska was never more clearly seen than earlier this week, when he negotiated a long-term extension with football coach Bo Pelini. Osborne's $261,000 yearly contract ranks at the bottom of Big 12 athletic departments, despite directing the fortunes of the school with the second-largest athletic budget.

Most interesting of all was the fact that Osborne and Pelini largely negotiated the deal themselves without availing the use of agents or trustee members. That old-school approach is a marked contrast to most high-level contract negotiations -- most notably Texas Tech's protracted recent salary extension to Mike Leach.

Here are the numbers for each athletic director, along with the school's athletic budget and the percent of his salary of the total budget.