Tuesday, April 6, 2021

New KU Athletic Director Travis Goff’s salary lowest among Big 12 ADs

Newly named University of Kansas Athletic Director Travis Goff, is shown at his former school, Northwestern, where he served as the Wildcats' Deputy AD since 2012. Goff graduated from KU in 2002 and was hired by KU Chancellor Douglas Girod on April 5, 2021.

Newly named University of Kansas Athletic Director Travis Goff, is shown at his former school, Northwestern, where he served as the Wildcats' Deputy AD since 2012. Goff graduated from KU in 2002 and was hired by KU Chancellor Douglas Girod on April 5, 2021.


New Kansas Athletic Director Travis Goff, hired by the university on Monday to replace Jeff Long, will make $700,000 annually for the first three years of a five-year contract, putting him at the bottom of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

According to a recent report from the Associated Press, Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard was making a base salary of $757,000 per year and $178,000 annually in “other university compensation” before taking a temporary 10% pay cut to help offset a $25 million budget shortfall brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AP also recently reported that Kansas State AD Gene Taylor, who was nearing the end of a five-year contract, will see his salary increase from $650,000 per year to $925,000 annually starting next school year as part of an extension that runs through 2027.

According to the most recent data available from, those two schools, along with Oklahoma State, were the only Big 12 universities paying their ADs in the same ballpark as what Kansas is paying Goff.

An Oklahoma State news release from early March indicated that newly named OSU AD, Chad Weiberg, who is replacing Mike Holder, signed a four-year contract worth $750,000 per year.

Two other Big 12 ADs also made six-figure salaries during the 2019-20 school year — TCU’s Jeremiah Donati ($938,473) and West Virginia’s Shane Lyons ($870,000).

Goff’s predecessor, Long, was under contract for $1.5 million per year at KU prior to his departure. Long received a $1.375 million settlement after resigning last month following KU’s parting of ways with former KU football coach Les Miles, whom Long hired and subsequently settled with for just under $2 million after sexual harassment allegations concerning Miles surfaced from his time at LSU.

According to the data, Texas AD Chris Del Conte ($2.33 million), Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt ($1.85 million), Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione ($1.733 million) and Baylor’s Mack Rhoades ($1.55 million) all made more than Long in 2019-20.

Boosted largely by those seven-figure salaries in the top half, the average salary of a Big 12 AD in 2019-20 was $1.3 million.

The starting salary for Goff, the former Northwestern deputy AD and 2002 KU graduate, comes as no surprise given the fact that he is entering his first stint as an athletic director.

Goff’s contract indicates that he may be entitled to an annual bonus that shall not exceed 20% of his base salary for “meeting or exceeding performance targets set forth in Athletics Director’s annual performance evaluation” with KU Chancellor Douglas Girod.

Goff’s contract also includes a section labeled “Representations & Warranties Regarding Prior Conduct,” in which he states he has not been accused of, engaged in or found guilty or responsible of any kind of “sexual harassment, sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct or discrimination” in the past 15 years.

The same section also notes that, in the last 15 years, Goff has not entered into any settlements or agreements relating to allegations of sexual misconduct nor is aware of any of his prior employers doing the same on his behalf. It also notes that in the last 15 years he has not failed to report improper conduct by employees or student-athletes.

Goff also agreed to participate in all university training on the subjects of sexual harassment, sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct or discrimination and agreed to have all Kansas Athletics, Inc., employees to do the same.

As for termination, the contract states that if Goff were fired for cause he would be owed only his unpaid salary and bonuses (if any) through the date of termination.

If Goff were fired without cause, KU would owe him the lesser of two amounts — two year’s salary or the compensation remaining on his contract.

If Goff were to terminate the contract himself by accepting other employment at a college or university or with a “sports-related organization,” he would owe KU the total of one year’s salary ($700,000) within 60 days of termination of the contract.

In addition to outlining the duties of the AD and spelling out the perks of the job, such as a country club membership, use of a company car, season tickets for his family and a suite at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on game days, Goff's contract also:

• Notes that the university will pay “reasonable expenses” not to exceed $30,000 combined for both a house-hunting trip for Goff and his wife, Nancy, and moving costs. The contract also provides a provision for temporary housing in Lawrence should Goff need it.

• Details four exceptions for when travel expenses for Nancy Goff will be covered by KU — specified off-campus games (4 football and 4 men’s basketball); postseason men’s and women’s basketball and football games; one Big 12 meeting per year; and official travel, defined as any required, non-personal travel relating to the business of the AD.

• Indicates that the use of the university plane shall be for official business only and requires written approval from the chancellor.

Goff and Girod, along with legal representatives for both parties, signed the contract on Monday.

Annual Big 12 AD Salaries

(per most recent data available)

• Chris Del Conte, Texas — $2.33 million

• Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech — $1.85 million

• Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma — $1.733 million

• Mack Rhoades, Baylor — $1.55 million

• Jeremiah Donati, TCU — $938,473

• Jamie Pollard, Iowa State — $938,000

• Gene Taylor, Kansas State — $925,000

• Shane Lyons, West Virginia — $870,000

• Chad Weiberg, Oklahoma State — $750,000

• Travis Goff, Kansas — $700,000


Robin Smith 1 year, 8 months ago

Sounds prudent. Wishing Travis all the best.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 8 months ago

He will get the football hire right and, when he does, the money will be there.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 8 months ago

Goff's salary is the lowest in the Big 12 not only because he's a first-time AD, but because KU wasted so much money on Jeff Long and Les Miles.

Barry Weiss 1 year, 8 months ago

His football hire will dictate his future, that is for sure.

Spencer Goff 1 year, 8 months ago

Paycheck doesn't equate success in terms of young athletic directors. I am not sure what the motivation of the article or the headline is but I'll give a journalistic pass and hope this was an exploration into the Big 12 and less an attack at his pay scale.

He is new at this level of the game and a first time AD, and while he has the education and background, the pay scale in the Big 12 reflects 1) experience of the administrator, and 2) the sheer size of the athletic department. Texas will always have to pay massive dollars for their AD, that person runs a department double the size of most colleges.

Win in basketball, get decent in football, and he won't stay at the bottom for long, we all know this to be the truth.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 8 months ago

I think the article is informational only and not an expose' of any kind. I agree if the programs do well under his direction then his salary will increase, as well.

Matt Tait 1 year, 8 months ago

Correct. Just facts presented for those who might be interested and who do not have the time/ability to look them up. The way the world works now days, though, it seems everything is open to interpretation by everyone.

Pretty standard stuff here, though. We've always looked at where KU's ADs and coaches stack up against their Big 12 peers, both when newly hired and during their time with the school. That's all this was. And, as the article notes, Goff/KU's rank was hardly a surprise given the fact that he's a first-time AD.

Thanks for checking it out and commenting!

Gary McCullough 1 year, 8 months ago

Let's get him out of that purple/Wildcat merch he's wearing in the only picture the LJW seems to have in their files.

Matt Tait 1 year, 8 months ago

It's actually two different photos and, yes, they're all we've got until tomorrow. It's the damnedest thing, too. We have several photos on hand of every other Deputy AD at every other school in the country. Just not Goff. Crazy!!!

Keith Gellar 1 year, 8 months ago

Had to make cuts somewhere to afford selfs lifetime contract

Edward Daub 1 year, 8 months ago

Rumor has it that Northwestern wants to hire an AD that demonstrates their commitment to diversity.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 8 months ago

Fortunately, Coach Self’s new contract doesn’t effect the budget at all. Just opens the backend so it’s one less todo for anyone as well as solidifies our commitment for recruiting.

When factoring in the pandemic induced pay cuts and potential bonuses, this contract is essentially the same as the other new ADs. It is nice that Travis is a relatively young though highly respected Jayhawk. It will be nice to have him around for decades to come and continue to rise in all aspects of the position.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 8 months ago

The first two people are making less than him currently.

757k - 75k is less than 700k

And the second is making 650k.

Both are geared to change next year, but the article's headline is incorrect.

Rodney Schulz 1 year, 8 months ago

Although I have absolutely zero respect for a journalism and sociology degree from KU, at least Goff spent significant time at a quality academic school, Northwestern, as well as a decent academic school, Tulane, and got his MBA from Tulane. Unlike other journalism and sociology majors, maybe he can add 2+3, which is necessary when you’re running a multi-million dollar budget. Additionally, it is good that he is from Dodge City, A town with good values, A good culture and a strong work ethic.

Waylon Cook 1 year, 8 months ago

After hearing Hocutt handling Chris Beard leaving, would have never thought he made that much.

Luan Do 1 year, 8 months ago

Congratulations to travis. I was on the tennis team with his older brother and his mom was my french teacher back in dodge.

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