Illinois showed it was willing to spend when it signed Lovie Smith as its new football coach, and even athletic director Josh Whitman will be earning a raise over his predecessor. The details have come out about Whitman's contract with the Illini, and he have plenty of opportunity to add to his salary if his teams perform well.
Per the News-Gazette, Whitman has a 5-year contract that will pay him $600,000 per year. For comparison, former athletic director Mike Thomas earned $568,178 in 2015, according to The Daily Illini's Salary Guide.
Since this is Illinois, where contracts never seem to last all the way through, Whitman does have a buyout in his contract. If the University fires him without cause, they're on the hook for the prorated amount of the first three years of his contract, in addition to another $250,000 for years four and five of the contract. If Whitman jumps ship for another Division I Athletic Director position, he will pay Illinois back $1 million, reduced by $200,000 for each year he is there. So if Whitman leaves after one year, he owes $800,000, and so on.
In addition to his base salary, Whitman is eligible for an extra $200,000 in added income per year in athletic, academic and fundraising achievements. Call me crazy, but these benefits seem very easy to achieve. Illinois will almost certainly always be near the top of the line when it comes to academics, and the athletics bonuses have some pretty low-hanging fruit. Here's how the benefits shake out:
Athletics (capped at $70,000 per year):
-Football: Big Ten championship/Division Championship = $10,000
Non-Selection Committe Bowl game = $15,000
Selection Committee Bowl game = $20,000
College Playoff Bowl = $30,000
National Championship = $50,000
-Men's and Women's Basketball: Big Ten Championship = $10,000
NIT berth = $5,000
NCAA berth = $10,000
Sweet Sixteen = $15,000
Final Four = $20,000
National Championship = $25,000
-Other Sports: Big Ten Championship = $5,000
NCAA participant = $5,000
National Championship = $10,000
Academics (capped at $70,000 per year):
Four year NCAA APR rate of all student athletes:
-Between 930-960 = $20,000
-Between 960-970 = $30,000
-Between 970-980 = $40,000
-980+ = $65,000
Also, any team with a perfect score of 1000 earns Whitman a $2,500 bonus. The Illini had four perfect scores in 2014-15.
Fundraising (capped at $60,000 per year):
-10 percent increase in I-Fund annual gifts = $20,000
-20 percent increase in I-Fund annual gifts = $40,000
-At least five Major gifts of $1 million or more = $25,000
-At least five Principal gifts of $5 million or more = $30,000
You can read Whitman's contract in its entirety here.