Mike Thomas Is Doing Pretty Well For Himself

Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

A new story by the USA Today shows that athletic director Mike Thomas is one of the higher-paid athletic directors in the Big Ten.

If you ever see athletic director Mike Thomas out about town drinks are on him.

Much like the USA Today did a database of the salaries of college football's head coaches, they've done one for the athletic directors of the country as well, and it turns out that Mike Thomas is doing pretty well in comparison to other athletic directors both in the conference and elsewhere.

He doesn't make the most of any AD in the Big Ten, but he does have a base salary of $589,250 and can earn up to another $200,000 in bonuses. I don't know exactly what those bonuses are, but I'm just going to assume he didn't get anything for hiring Tim Beckman.

Of the 11 athletic directors listed in the Big Ten -- Northwestern's Jim Phillips isn't included since Northwestern is private, but since it's Northwestern and their basketball stadium is just a high school gym, I'm assuming Phillips is paid in books -- Thomas checks in at sixth place, so just about in the middle. Nationally, among all the ADs listed, Thomas checks in at 35th.

Not surprisingly, it's Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez who makes the most of any Big Ten AD, pulling in $1.23 million last year. Nebraska's Shawn Eichorst and Ohio State's Gene Smith are the only other Big Ten ADs to pull in over a million, though Michigan's Dave Brandon was close at $900,000.

The lowest paid athletic director in the league is Penn State's Dave Joyner, who pulls in a "paltry" $396,000. Penn State is too busy paying lawyers to pay their athletic director right now.

As for whom the highest paid athletic director in the country is, you'll probably be surprised because he's not at a school you'd consider an athletic powerhouse.

It's Vanderbilt's David Williams, who makes $3,239,678 a year. The next highest paid AD is Louisville's Tom Jurich who makes $1,401,915 a year and gets free Papa Johns pizza. So, for some reason, Vanderbilt's AD gets more than twice as much as the next-highest paid athletic director in the country.

We should all hire his agent.

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.

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