As athletic departments struggled to weather the recession last year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association spent nearly $6-million to compensate 14 of its highest-ranking executives, according to federal tax documents recently made public.
The highest-paid of those officials was Myles Brand, the former NCAA president who died of cancer last September while still in office.
Mr. Brand received $1,145,880 in total compensation for the fiscal year ending August 2009. The sum included $770,739 in salary and more than $200,000 in bonuses and incentive compensation, as well as other pay and benefits.
Mr. Brand took home $1,710,095 in total compensation in 2007-8, including $815,000 in retirement pay that was deferred from previous years.
Other highly paid executives last year were Thomas W. Jernstedt, the former executive vice president who announced his departure last month after 38 years at the association ($604,679); Bernard W. Franklin, executive vice president for membership and student-athlete affairs ($509,429); and James L. Isch, the former chief financial officer and NCAA interim president who was recently named its chief operating officer ($467,734).
The $6-million set aside in 2008-9 for executive compensation is just under 12 percent of the nearly $50-million the association spent on compensation for all of its employees last year, the records show. The organization, headquartered in Indianapolis, employs more than 400 people.
By comparison, the American Council on Education paid its president, Molly Corbett Broad, roughly $507,000 in total compensation last year, while most of its key employees earned between $200,000 and $300,000.
Next month Mark A. Emmert, the departing president of the University of Washington, will take over as the NCAA's next chief executive. It is not known how much the association will pay Mr. Emmert, whose compensation at Washington last year exceeded $900,000.
In all, the NCAA brought in more than $700-million in revenue last year, up from nearly $660-million the previous year. The bulk of that money—just under $590-million—came from television-rights fees. The NCAA's television contract at the time, which it replaced in April with a more-lucrative agreement, was backloaded to provide the association with greater payouts in the final years of the deal.
Other sources of income for the NCAA included championships and ticket sales (more than $75-million), membership fees (about $12-million), and rights and royalties (just below $8-million).
Much of the NCAA's money is doled out to its 1,200 member institutions and athletic conferences in the form of grants and scholarships. But those contributions vary greatly: Last year, for instance, the NCAA shared $32-million with the Big Ten Conference, in Division I-A; $4-million with the Sun Belt Conference, in Division I-AA; and $72,000 with the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, in Division III.
As a nonprofit organization, the NCAA is not required to pay taxes on its income. That has rankled some critics of spending in college sports, including a few members of Congress, who have asked the association to justify its tax-exempt status.