MSU's former president gets insane perks after resignation

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Lou Anna Simon resigned as MSU’s president, but she still gets a lifetime of sweet, sweet perks. (AP Photo)
Lou Anna Simon resigned as MSU’s president, but she still gets a lifetime of sweet, sweet perks. (AP Photo)

Lou Anna Simon announced on Wednesday that she’s resigning from her position as president of Michigan State University, a direct result of the ongoing Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. But her resignation doesn’t mean she’s done with MSU. Simon’s employment contract with MSU could have them connected for the rest of Simon’s life, and with some insane perks along the way.

That’s right: Simon resigned after a tsunami of deserved criticism about how MSU has handled the Nassar scandal (both before and after the accusations came to light), but she’ll still get to reap some impressive benefits thanks to her time as MSU’s president.

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The Detroit Free Press revealed those perks on Thursday afternoon, and it’s not a small list.

— Parking passes for on-campus parking
— Two free tickets to home football games for the Spartan Club suites
— Two free tickets to women’s basketball games
— The option to buy up to four men’s basketball tickets in the same location she currently has seats
— Reduced-price tickets for bowl games and post-season play for football, men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey
— Parking pass for all home sporting and cultural events

In addition to those sports-related perks, Simon will get even more employment and salary benefits. Simon has the option of returning to the MSU faculty (she received her PhD in education from MSU in 1974), and once you get a load of her salary, you’ll see why that’s a no-brainer. If she does choose to return to a faculty position, she’ll immediately get a 12-month research leave, during which she’ll be paid her presidential salary of $750,000. Once she returns from that research leave, her salary will again be $750,000 for her first year. After that, she gets 75% of that salary (around $562,500) for two years.

That’s not all! Nope, we’re still not done. Simon will also get office space on campus and “secretarial support,” plus a lifetime of technical support for both her and her spouse. Given all of this, more kids should put “university president” on the list of jobs they want to do when they grow up.

The Press had an expert named James Finkelstein look over the contract, and he managed to be both impressed and not impressed at the same time.

“In the 200+ presidential contracts we’ve reviewed, this is the only contract that provides for the president to receive 100% of their last presidential base salary for the first year that they return to the faculty,” James Finkelstein, a professor emeritus at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and the leading researcher of presidential pay, told the Free Press in an email.


“So based on this contract, it would appear that Dr. Simon will be paid more than twice the amount of the most highly paid faculty member in the College of Education.  In addition, she will be paid more than the most highly paid faculty member in the entire university, C. Konrad Gelbke who makes $433,441. He is one of the world’s leading physicists.”

Finkelstein said that the granting of these kinds of benefits is extremely rare, and that many of the benefits are related to MSU sports makes it even rarer.

The rarest thing of all? That Lou Anna Simon finally resigned and both her and MSU look even worse for it. Congratulations to both parties, because that’s not an easy thing to do.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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