Despite taking a 20% pay cut during a portion of 2020 because of financial concerns connected to the pandemic that included cancelation of the Division I men’s basketball tournament, NCAA president Mark Emmert’s total compensation for the year increased by just over $80,000 compared to what he made in 2019, according to the association’s new federal tax return.
The new returns show that Emmert was credited with $2.99 million in total compensation during the 2020 calendar year, including $2.58 million in base salary.
As was the case with some football and men’s basketball head coaches who took pandemic-related pay reductions during the same time frame, Emmert’s escalation in compensation resulted from a raise called for under his contract that ended up being reduced but not negated by the reduction.
The NCAA provided the new return and, separately, the explanation of Emmert’s increase to USA TODAY Sports on Monday.
The return is for a fiscal year running from Sept. 1, 2020 through Aug. 31, 2021. Because the NCAA is set up as a private, non-profit organization, IRS rules require it to report compensation data based on the calendar year completed during the applicable fiscal year. Revenue and expense data are reported for the fiscal year.
And those data included the association reporting nearly $52.5 million in outside legal fees in fiscal 2020-21. That period included its appeal of the Alston antitrust case to the Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled against the NCAA in June 2021.
While legal-expense total was down by more than $15 million compared to the previous year, it means that over the past seven fiscal years, the NCAA has reported $304.5 million in outside legal expenses and $69.1 million in legal-cost recoveries.
Emmert was not the only NCAA executive subject to the pay cut who was shown to have received greater compensation in the 2020 calendar year than in 2019, but other executives received less money in 2020 than they did in 2019.
“The pay cuts were taken from May 2020 through August 2020,” the NCAA said in a statement. “In the case of Dr. Emmert, he received a contractual increase near the end of 2019 which causes (a) year over year increase when you compare 2019 to 2020 with the pay cut.”
The NCAA announced April 26 that Emmert will step down from his job by mutual agreement with the association’s Board of Governors. He will continue to serve in the position until June 2023, or when a successor is in place. In April 2021, the board had voted to extend Emmert’s contract through Dec. 31, 2025.
According to the association’s prior tax records, Emmert had received a $200,000 base salary increase for the 2018 calendar year and a nearly $180,000 increase for 2019.
The association’s cancelation of the basketball tournament in March 2020 resulted in a $600 million drop in revenue for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which ended on Aug. 31, 2020. That drop caused a $365 million decrease in the amount distributed to Division I schools and conferences that fiscal year.
On March 31, 2020, USA TODAY Sports reported that Emmert had sent a memo to the association’s membership saying that he and members of the association’s senior management were cutting their pay by 20% and the association’s vice presidents were cutting their pay by 10%.
In a statement last July to USA TODAY Sports that accompanied the release of its 2019-20 tax records, the NCAA said the pay reductions ended Aug. 31, 2020.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NCAA president earns $2.99 million in 2020, despite pandemic cuts