NCAA president Mark Emmert credited with $2.9 million in total pay for 2019 calendar year

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NCAA president Mark Emmert was credited with $2.9 million in total compensation during the 2019 calendar year, according to the association’s new federal tax return.

The amount includes just under $2.5 million in base salary, which represents an increase of slightly more than $175,000 compared to the base amount reported for him for the 2018 calendar year.

The NCAA’s new return — provided Monday in response to a request from USA TODAY Sports — is for a fiscal year running from Sept. 1, 2019 through Aug. 31, 2020.

The NCAA is set up as a private, non-profit organization. Under IRS rules, such entities must report compensation data based on the calendar year completed during the fiscal year covered by the return. Revenue and expense data are reported for the fiscal year.

And those data provided other insights into the association's activities, including that the association spent $67.7 million on outside legal fees in fiscal 2019-20. Among the legal challenges the NCAA faced during that period was the Alston antitrust case, which ended in June 2021 with the Supreme Court unanimously ruling against the association.

The legal issues, as well as the NCAA's handling of matters including athletes' ability to make money from their name, image and likeness (NIL), have resulted in Emmert and other association executives being criticized by state and federal lawmakers. And that criticism was renewed Monday.

"Mark Emmert grew his wealth while he cut corners for his employees and cheated his players out of name, image, and likeness," Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., a frequent NCAA critic in recent years, said in a statement Monday.

Subsequent to the time period covered by the new tax records, Emmert also has been condemned for the inequalities that occurred during this year's NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments.

During part of 2020, Emmert and members of the association’s senior management team took 20% pay cuts and the association’s vice presidents took 10% pay cuts due to financial pressure the NCAA was facing from the pandemic, according to a memo sent to the membership in late March 2020. The association said in a statement Monday that the reductions ended Aug. 31, 2020.

NCAA president Mark Emmert says he envisions major changes ahead for the organization.
NCAA president Mark Emmert says he envisions major changes ahead for the organization.

Emmert is working under a contract that runs through Dec. 31, 2025, the association announced in late April, when it said the NCAA Board of Governors had voted unanimously to extend the agreement.

Before that time, the most recent action on Emmert’s contract had been to lengthen the deal through 2023, with an option to extend it through 2024.

OPINION: NCAA has essentially made Emmert king for life, and he doesn't deserve it

Two other top NCAA leaders were credited with more than $1 million in total compensation in 2019: Then-chief operating officer Donald Remy ($1.7 million, up from nearly $1.35 million in 2018) and executive vice president Stan Wilcox (nearly $1.4 million).

Remy, who had been Emmert's closest advisor on a wide range of legal and rules-making matters, last week was confirmed as the Biden Administration's Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Seven other NCAA executives were credited with total compensation of more than $550,000 for the 2019 calendar year.

The NCAA's legal expenses for fiscal 2020 were just over $11 million more than the association had reported for this expense category for any single fiscal year, going back to at least fiscal 2009.

The association said in its statement Monday that the fiscal 2020 amount "is due to an accrual of $34.8 million related to the Alston case."

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the Alston antitrust case had been awarded $33.2 million in fees and costs for the trial phase of the case. The plaintiffs' lawyers recently filed for an additional $3.5 million in fees and costs for the case's appellate phase.

Over its past six fiscal years, the NCAA has reported a total of $252.1 million in outside legal expenses and $69.1 million in legal-cost insurance recoveries.

Meanwhile, the association also reported $500,000 in outside lobbying expenses for fiscal 2020, an amount that is in addition to the costs of the NCAA’s government relations offices and staff in Washington. That makes this the fifth time in six years that the NCAA has spent at least $400,000 on outside lobbyists as the NIL issue has gained lawmakers' attention.

The association reported $410,000 for this category for fiscal 2019. It reported spending $560,000 in fiscal 2015.

Follow colleges reporter Steve Berkowitz on Twitter @ByBerkowitz

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NCAA's Mark Emmert credited with $2.9 million in total pay for 2019