University leadership pulled the plug yesterday on Jeff Long’s 10-year run as director of athletics for Arkansas.
Volumes could be written from many angles about Long’s tenure at the University; but today we’re here to discuss money, specifically Jeff Long’s ability to negotiate contracts for himself.
Jeff Long, Arkansas AD, is one of, if not the very highest paid director of athletics in the country…and man, it gets better (or worse depending on how you look at it).
Until this week, every media who covered Arkansas athletics, and every national media member we’ve seen was under the impression Long’s contract ended in June 2018. Countless articles were written under this premise for the past few months, many just in the last few weeks as it became more clear a decision on Jeff’s future at Arkansas was coming.
What was believed to have been the amended contract Long was operating under came about in 2013 under the premise that Long was a “serious finalist for the same position at the University of Texas” included substantial raises over Long’s previous contract. Long’s new salary, effective with his 2013 amendment became $615,000.
Arkansas cuts the cord yesterday…and oh, what’s that? The University owes him $4.6 million?
Wait, what? That’s not what his amended contract which ends in June 2018 says.
Well, it turns out Long negotiated a new contract for himself effective July 2015. Was this 2015 contract amendment every announced or made available to the media or public before this week? No. But that is a matter for another day. What is fascinating is what Long was able to negotiate for himself in 2015 with no visible competing interests.
As a reminder, at the time Long’s contract paid him $615,000 per year, running through June 2018.
Long hired Bret Bielema before the 2013 season. The Hogs went 3-9 that year. In the 2014 season the Hogs went 6-6 in the regular season and beat the Texas in their bowl game.
In July 2015, Long negotiated the following:
New years – Now running through June 2020…and ever green, such that if no one notified him to the contrary, every year on July 1, the contract extended for another year. (WHAT???!!!)
New salary – Long’s annual salary was increased to $750,000 plus the potential for annual salary increases. Arkansas Times reports public databases put his current annual salary at $1 million.
New incentives – The amendment adds that if Arkansas athletics do any four of the following seven things, Jeff Long receives $250,000 every year.
- All teams avoid APR scholarship penalties
- Overall graduation rate for athletes equals or exceeds graduation rate for all students, or at least 50% of athletes achieve a 3.0.
- Long “maintains good citizenship”
- Football participates in a bowl game
- Men’s or women’s basketball team makes the tournament
- Any other team participates in post season competition
- The department maintains a balanced budget
In addition to the $250,000 which is all but guaranteed, Long has a full page of “extraordinary incentives” such as $100,000 if the men’s basketball team wins the SEC or $50,000 if 80% of athletes graduate.
In fact, Long’s incentives seem so easily “earned” that Arkansas wrote a specific provision capping his incentives at $1.1 million per year.
For those unfamiliar with what most Power 5 athletic directors make, these numbers are off the charts… and the ever green feature is virtually unheard of. USA Today reports only 4 ADs make over $1.2 million. Nearly every Power 5 AD makes between $600,000 and $900,000. Jeff Long’s base salary has reportedly risen to $1 million and he puts an easy $250,000 in the bank by basically being a decent human being, and can pocket up to another $850,000 per year in other incentives. $2 million per year to be Arkansas’ AD….and with a contract that rolls forward every year? Wow.
Add on top, that if the University ever decided to part ways with him, that they would owe him $4.6 million and man, you simply have to be impressed with Long’s negotiating prowess. I tip my cap to Mr. Long for getting what he could. Haven’t seen many, if any, others do it better. Capitalism at its finest.
I’m not opining on his service as director of athletics; but man, I sure would recommend hiring Jeff Long to negotiate your next contract.