Maturi signs contract

Depending on different outcomes, his bonuses could add up to $170,000.

by Karlee Weinmann

Athletics Director Joel Maturi and the University agreed last week to extend his tenure for at least three more years.

Maturi signed a contract Wednesday increasing his salary by about 8.5 percent to $315,000 a year. The agreement also grants Maturi benefits and the opportunity for several bonuses. The contract will retain Maturi through the 2009-2010 academic year.

After reviving the scandal-scarred program’s academic standing and generating money for athletics programs since he accepted the position four years ago, Maturi said renegotiating his contract was easy.

“I’m thankful (University) President (Bob) Bruininks feels the athletic department is going in the right direction and that he has faith in me,” Maturi said. “It was basically the same deal (the University) offered initially that I signed.”

The deal, which puts Maturi about midway between the highest- and lowest-paid athletics directors in the Big Ten in terms of base salary, offers him a chance to receive up to $170,000 in bonuses for academic, management and athletic performance.

Bruininks, in comparison, will earn $384,212 during fiscal 2006-2007, according to documents from the University’s Board of Regents.

First-year gender studies student Jill Bartel said she believes Maturi’s salary, coupled with bonuses and benefits, is excessive.

“The money Joel Maturi is getting paid would be better suited to help students in academics,” Bartel said.

Big changes on campus

Bruininks made his support for Maturi’s leadership apparent.

“Joel Maturi has been an outstanding leader for Gopher athletics,” Bruininks said in a news release. He said Maturi has “significantly increased fundraising, played a major role in the effort to build TCF Bank Stadium and put an unprecedented focus on enhancing academic support.”

Maturi said he will remain focused on academics, continuing to strengthen an athletics-academic partnership at the University that was under scrutiny when he took his post.

“You’re seeing more (student-athletes) graduate than four years ago and four years from now, I hope the graduation rate will be even higher,” he said, adding that the University needs to give out more athletics scholarships.

Maturi also said building new facilities advances the University.

Most recently, the University has seen the construction of a women’s rowing facility. And the ceremonial groundbreaking for the on-campus TCF Bank Stadium will be before Saturday’s football game.

“One thing that’s certain is that big changes are happening on campus,” said Luke Neuville, student representative to the Board of Regents. “Having the same people around for the next (several) years is important to make all these big plans go through.”

The perks

The University will contribute $75,000 a year to Maturi’s retirement account for the duration of his contract.

Bonuses outlined in the contract are awarded annually at the discretion of Bruininks or an administrative designee.

Each year, Maturi is granted up to $10,000 to use toward “personal travel of (his) family, friends and business associates” for their attendance of University athletics events, according to the contract.

Maturi also is provided a vehicle by the University.

If Maturi keeps increases

in the student-athlete graduation rate steady, he is eligible for bonuses totaling up to $20,000.

A student-athlete graduation rate of 60 percent or more will earn Maturi at least $5,000 and up to $20,000.

Similarly, a student-athlete grade point average starting at 3.0 qualifies Maturi for a $10,000 bonus. He could walk away with $25,000 if the GPA average reaches 3.75.

Maturi’s potential payout for a University finish in the top bracket of the U.S. Sports Academy’s Directors’ Cup, an all-around ranking of universities’ athletics departments, increases dramatically.

Maturi gains a $20,000 bonus for a top 25 finish, but the allowance could reach $100,000 if the University secures a place at the top of the rankings.

If Maturi excels in the areas of financial management, public relations, fundraising success, avoiding violations and strategic leadership, he could also earn extra income – $5,000 for each category.

Maturi said he is committed to maintaining and enhancing the athletics program’s reputation.

“I want student-athletes to graduate with a degree and leave feeling good about being a Gopher,” he said.