The Times West Virginian


March 30, 2014

NCAA, administrators enjoy handsome financial benefits while athletes go unpaid

MORGANTOWN — It came, perhaps, at the very moment the NCAA didn’t need it to come, a moment when the organization’s fate was beginning to teeter under pressures that were long brewing and, to be honest, long overdue.

It came out of Ohio State after the fruits of Logan Stieber’s long, hard drive to the 141-pound NCAA wrestling championship were reaped … those fruits being a medal, a handshake and adulation among his peers and wrestling fans.

What he didn’t get was what every college athlete needs – money.

That, of course, has always been OK, except shortly after he won the title it came out that his athletic director, Gene Smith, earned an $18,000 bonus from Stieber’s championship.

In fact, this man who earns $940,484 – don’t ask me why the $484 is there – per year gets an additional week’s pay as bonus anytime a Buckeye athlete win an individual national title in cross country, track, wrestling, swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, fencing, golf, gymnastics, tennis or rifle and pistol, according to his seven-year contract, which was obtained by Yahoo Sports.

Taking this closer to home, West Virginia University’s own Oliver Luck, whose salary is $550,000 per year, almost certainly earned a bonus – more modest, yes, but more than any of the athletes earned – off the school’s rifle team winning another national title.

Luck, like Smith, has bonuses for others’ performance, although his are not tied to individual championships but to team championships or accomplishments, Luck receiving a bonus that is 75 percent of what the coach gets,

It is limited to $130,000 or $150,000 – two different documents that have been made public have different figures – total … so if Luck had reached that figure by the time the rifle team won the title he would not have received the bonus, but considering the years the football and men’s basketball teams had, chances are he had not.

Luck’s bonus would have been above $5,000, for rifle coach Jon Hammond’s contract gives him $7,500 for the title.

Again, coach and athletic director benefit. Athletes do not, and that is why college sports is involved in a revolution … and WVU is right in the midst of it.

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