The athletic directors with the highest contracts aren’t necessarily surprising, given the wealth of the departments where they work. But they do illustrate one thing: As college sports change, schools appear to value a good AD now more than ever.
A first observation? Everything’s bigger in Texas, including AD salaries. Two of the state’s ADs ranked in the top five.
- Texas AD Chris Del Conte had the highest contract in 2020-21 at $2.4 million, according to the AthleticDirectorU data.
- Former Northwestern AD Jim Phillips ($2.3M) ranked second, followed by Arizona State’s Ray Anderson ($2.1M) and Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione ($2M).
- Texas Tech’s Kirby Hocutt ranked fifth, with $1.9 million.
Texas and Texas Tech however, laid off staff during the pandemic year. ADs took temporary pay cuts on a marginal rate.
They don’t just make money from doing their jobs. Some can also line their pockets for getting fired without cause.
Del Conte has the biggest payout, at $14.1 million. However, not all of the highest-paid ADs have the highest payouts.
Rounding out the top five are ADs at UCLA, Texas Tech, Tennessee, and Alabama.
It’s safe to assume Texas and Oklahoma’s ADs will get a raise when joining the SEC in 2025 — if they haven’t already.