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A Conversation with USA Today reporter Steve Berkowitz

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Here's a terrific College Hotline podcast with perhaps the pre-eminent expert on coaches salaries and NCAA finances.
By Jon Wilner, Bay Area News Group, 5-30-17
Money month continues on the College Hotline with a deep-dive podcast discussion on several hot topics (see link below).

My guest understands the financial landscape as well as anyone: Steve Berkowitz, the primary author of USA Today’s salary database for head coaches (football and basketball), coordinators, assistant coaches and athletic directors.

It’s also used by the schools themselves to track the cash outlays of peer programs.

(Berkowitz, by the way, has also written extensively about other off-the-field matters, including the degree to which universities subsidize athletics and NCAA legal issues like the O’Bannon and Kessler cases.)

Our discussion covered Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany’s $20 million bonus, the disparity between football and basketball salaries, the origins of the database itself and the future of HC salaries.

Seeing as how Nick Saban is due $11 million this year, including a bonus, I wondered which coach (Saban? Meyer? Harbaugh?) will be the first to $15 million.

We also examined on the potential impact of two new deals in the Pac-12:

Chris Petersen’s mega-extension with Washington and Jim Leavitt’s contract with Oregon, which could raise the bar substantially for coordinators and assistant coaches within the conference.

To this point, the Pac-12 salary market has remained reasonable, at least relative to that of the SEC. But Petersen’s deal vaults him into the top 10 nationally, and Leavitt’s represents a marked jump in coordinator pay.

And yes: The discussion addressed the fact that athletes are compensated minimally (via cost-of-attendance), or not at all, while the top coaches are paid many millions.

(Because Berkowitz covers the amateurism issue as part of his beat, he tries to stay "agnostic” on the subject. Because he’s a close friend, I put him on the spot anyhow.)

Links to previous Hotline posts on money matters:

Analysis of Pac-12 federal tax filings for FY16.
The Pac-12 revenue gap relative to SEC/B1G is real, and it’s spectacular.
Debt service payments in FY17 will top $100 million for Pac-12 athletic departments.

Click here to access podcast (scroll down)
This posting has been reprinted on Clips with the author's permission.

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