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Bowls Pay Bowl Officials Big Bucks

Jan 10, 2011 – 3:20 PM
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Brett McMurphy

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GLENDALE, Ariz. – On Monday night, No. 1 Auburn and No. 2 Oregon play in the final bowl game of the 2010 season. The BCS national title game between the Tigers and Ducks will be the last of 35 bowl games played over the past 24 days.

There will have been a record 35 teams that won bowls -- and, yes, a record 35 teams that lost bowls -- with thousands of student-athletes enjoying what bowl supporters call "experiences of a lifetime."

"And (the bowl system) does this while maintaining college football's wonderful regular season," BCS executive director Bill Hancock wrote in a USA Today editorial last month. "And also by preserving America's unique multi-day bowl tradition that rewards student-athletes with a celebratory bowl-game week."

However, not only does it reward student-athletes with a "celebratory bowl-game week," it also rewards bowl executives. And rather handsomely.

Thirteen bowl executives make more than $240,000 annually, including three bowl officials who make more than $500,000 a year, according to salary figures obtained by the Sports Business Journal.

Outback Bowl president/CEO Jim McVay heads the list, earning $808,032 a year, followed by Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan ($645,386) and Chick-fil-A Bowl president/CEO Gary Stokan ($504,444).

The BCS does not have any control over what each bowl organization pays its employees. Hancock said it's up to each bowl to decide what is best for them. All four BCS bowls – Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta – have at least two employees earning more than $190,000 a year.

"Each bowl committee, which is made up of leaders in their communities, does what it believes is responsible for their individual bowls," Hancock told FanHouse Monday morning.

The Sports Business Journal obtained the salary information from Internal Revenue Service Form 990s and Form 990-PFs financial statements of the 23 bowls for 2008-09 or 2009-10 fiscal years that are considered by the IRS as non-profit organizations. The other 12 bowl games are privately owned, including seven by ESPN Regional Television (New Mexico, St. Petersburg, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Texas, Armed Forces and BBVA Compass bowls), and financial data for those bowls is not available.

Of the 23 bowls with available financial data, the Discover Orange and Chick-fil-A bowls each have three bowl employees earning at least $200,000.

The combined salary of the top two paid Sugar Bowl employees -- Hoolahan and associate executive director -- exceeds $1 million -- $1.043 million to be exact.

Before Monday's BCS title game, the Football Bowl Association (FBA) announced bowl attendance had increased 0.83 percent compared to last season and trumpeted the bowl system.

"Each year, thousands of student-athletes take part in a spectacular bowl game as well as many community-service activities organized by our bowls," said Tina Kunzer-Murphy, chairman of the FBA. "Bowl week truly is a multi-day celebration and America's bowl tradition is something worth keeping."

Cotton Bowl president Rick Baker, who earns nearly $425,000 annually, has said "a playoff system would ruin the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic."

It also might cost some bowl executives their hundred thousand dollar salaries, as well.

Big Bowl Bucks

The annual salaries of each bowl's CEO/president/executive director along with any other bowl employees who earn more than $200,000 a year. Salary information obtained by the Sports Business Journal.

$808,032 Jim McVay, Outback
$645,386 Paul Hoolahan, Sugar
$504,444 Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A
$419,873 Rick Baker, Cotton
$419,045 Derrick Fox, Alamo
$415,118 John Junker, Fiesta/Insight
$377,475 Gary Cavalli, Kraft Fight Hunger
$357,722 Eric Poms, Orange
$277,929 John Dorger, Rose
$261,496 Bruce Binkowski, Holiday/Poinsettia
$242,584 Steve Hogan, Capital One/Champs
$236,594 Scott Ramsey, Music City
$200,599, Kevin McDonald, Humanitarian
$166,088 Bernie Olivas, Sun
$110,217 Missy Setters, Independence
$90,000 Mike Gottfried, GoDaddy.com
$37,500 Stephen Beck, Military

Bowl officials who are not their respective bowls' highest paid employee, yet make more than $200,000

$398,023 Jeff Hundley, Sugar
$256,588 Marty MacInnis, Cotton
$234,559 Robert Hollis, Chick-fil-A
$219,932 Natalie Aguilar-Wisneski, Fiesta/Insight
$210,013 David Epps, Chick-fil-A
$203,245 Christina Francis, Orange
$200,381 Brian Park, Orange

Brett McMurphy is a national college football writer for FanHouse. Contact him at brettmcmurphy@gmail.com and please follow at Twitter.com/BrettmcmurphY
Filed under: Sports

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