Perverse financial incentives add $20K to Duck AD Rob Mullens’s $700K pay

Rob Moseley has the news here:

By Rob Moseley
Editor, GoDucks.com

A strong spring fueled by NCAA championships in men’s and women’s track & field propelled the Oregon athletic department to a school-record 13th-place finish in the 2014-15 Division I Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, as announced Thursday.

The Directors’ Cup uses a points system and accounts for 10 men’s and 10 women’s sports from each school to calculate an annual ranking of the nation’s most successful athletic departments. Despite fielding just 18 NCAA programs, Oregon totaled 933.5 points to finish in the top 15 for the third year in a row, and the fourth time ever.

The Ducks remain the only program ever to finish in the top 15 with 18 or fewer NCAA-sponsored sports. Stanford, UCLA and USC took the top three spots in this year’s ranking and Cal was 12th, giving the Pac-12 five of the top 13 spots.

“The culture of excellence we’ve worked to foster with our staff, student-athletes and supporters is unique, and provides an incredible competitive advantage,” UO athletic director Rob Mullens said. “We’re competing in the toughest conference in the country and enjoying unprecedented success.”

And that success means money. While all of these sports, except football, lose money, that doesn’t mean Rob Mullens will. In Feb 2015 the UO Board of Trustees (minutes here) gave Mullens a $250K raise, to $700K, plus a generous package of performance incentives, including renewing this:

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The full contract is here. This clause gives Mullens every incentive to increase the number of UO sports teams, and increase the amount of money that each spends on coaches, recruiting, travel, etc. If ticket sales and TV revenue isn’t enough, he can try paying for it by raising the amount athletics charges UO’s student government for “free” tickets.

Many of the UO Trustees are business people who serve on corporate boards. Why didn’t they do what a corporate board would do, and write Mullens a contract that included incentives for reducing the financial subsidies that the Duck athletic department gets from UO? Or even give him an incentive to actually helping out the academic side, by cutting costs so and saving some money for, say, merit scholarships for Oregon undergrads?

I don’t know.

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One Response to Perverse financial incentives add $20K to Duck AD Rob Mullens’s $700K pay

  1. Dr. J says:

    Really…?

    Academia has been incorporated and revenue generation is the greatest goal. Unfortunately, athletics and academics are viewed as independent domains under one brand name umbrella by the “powers that be” (i.e. BOT, state legislatures, etc). To achieve revenue generation in athletics one seeks out the best facilities and athletes. To achieve revenue generation in academia one typically seeks out things like great minds (faculty), royalties, patents, grants, research infrastructure and tuition. Now ask yourself; which one generates greater return on investment each year? The products of academia (at least worthy academia) take much longer to ripen and produce a return to the investors and right now (rightly or wrongly) that means money flows towards sports (of course this is sports for the elite top 1-5% or so (of athletes for a particular sport) that go on to play intercollegiate sports. Maybe someday there will be an “occupy Autzen” or something….

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