SBD/Issue 137/Collegiate Sports

Kansas' Lew Perkins Earned $4.4M In '09, Likely Top AD Figure

Perkins Likely Nation's
Highest-Paid AD In '09

Univ. of Kansas AD Lew Perkins earned $4.4M in '09, a figure that "appears to place Perkins far beyond ... any athletic director in the nation," according to Mansur & Kerkhoff of the K.C. STAR. Perkins' compensation was discovered "while analyzing salary data for about 150,000 Kansas and Missouri public employees." Perkins, who left his position as Univ. of Connecticut AD for KU in '03, said his compensation was "all based on when I got hired, negotiated from day one."  KU Dir of University Communications Lynn Bretz "defended Perkins' 2009 compensation, saying it was inflated that year because of a special retention bonus negotiated earlier." Bretz said that Perkins' "pay will revert to about $900,000" this year, though that "would still put Perkins near the top pay of other athletic directors." Perkins' annual salary in '10 "will remain $800,000," plus $100,000 more "for working with the media and doing public relations on KU's behalf." Perkins' "current contract has been extended through June 2015." But Bretz said that Perkins is scheduled to "receive at least two more retention bonuses of $600,000 -- after taxes" -- with one of the bonuses "set for 2011, if he remains athletic director until June 30, 2011," and the other paid in '13. Mansur & Kerkhoff note just $194,000 of Perkins' $4.4M income in '09 "came from 'state funds,' paid by taxpayers," as Bretz said that the "bulk of it came from Kansas Athletics Inc., a nonprofit organization that promotes Kansas athletics." Most of Kansas Athletics Inc.'s employees "are not on university payrolls." Kansas Athletics "reported more than $80[M] in annual revenue for the year ending June 2009," with revenue including "student activity fees, ticket sales, royalties from the broadcast of KU sports events, donations from KU fans, and apparel and conference revenue." Perkins' contract also "guarantees other possible bonuses, many tied to specific annual tasks, and two cars, 15 cents-per-mile reimbursement for gas and maintenance of the cars, membership to two country clubs, a retirement plan, payment of his wife's travel expenses to games, four season tickets to KU home basketball games and use of a suite at Memorial Stadium." KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little "could not be reached for comment Friday" on Perkins' compensation (K.C. STAR, 3/27).

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