Breaking down Mason’s Athletic Director’s impact and the salaries of other A-10 schools
BY NATALIE HEAVREN SPORTS EDITOR; DOMENIC ALLEGRA ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
On Sept. 19, George Mason Athletics announced that Athletic Director Brad Edwards would be receiving a five-year contract extension through the 2022-2023 season and a salary increase of nearly $50,000.
Despite coming to Mason in the summer of 2014, Edwards has already left his mark on Mason’s campus and the athletics department itself.
During his five years here, Edwards has raised $20 million in revenue, sponsorships, and partnerships. EagleBank Arena is the most notable of these in two aspects — the naming rights purchased to the building itself and the addition to the new center-court jumbotron and the newly renovated locker rooms.
A little more than a year after coming to Mason, Mason Athletics partnered with Adidas. The partnership is worth approximately $2 million in both apparel and equipment.
Prior to the start of the 2017-2018 basketball season a new scoreboard with video capabilities was installed in EagleBank Arena, enhancing the in-game environment for fans. This came as a direct result of Edwards’ negotiation of a five-year extension with Learfield, the exclusive corporate sponsorship partner and multimedia rights holder of Mason Athletics.
Edwards received a record number of gifts from the Patriot Club totalling over $5.8 million.
Mason Athletics also partnered with Vivature, a software company, to use their athletics training software and billing solutions worth $1,050,000.
Edwards created Mason Athletics’ George Mason Basketball Excellence Plan which focuses on using the new sources of revenue and financial resources to both improve athletic facilities and helping student-athletes succeed.
Phase 1 of the Excellence Plan was worth $2.2 million, and included renovations of the EagleBank Arena locker rooms, the renovations for the Cage Gym Practice Facility and the new center-court jumbotron.
Phase 2 includes the design and construction of an addition to the Cage Gym Practice Facility. This will include adding new offices for the coaching staffs, new practice facility locker rooms, and sports medicine performance areas.
With a salary increase of 17 percent, Edwards now makes a little more than $350,000 annually. How does his salary compare to similar schools in the Atlantic 10 Conference?
In order to compare in a more accurate way, it is necessary to designate which schools in the A10 are football schools. Furthermore, because ten of the 14 schools are private, the salary data for those universities are unavailable.
UMass and URI both have football teams, though UMass plays in the Football Bowl Subdivision and URI plays in the Football Championship Subdivision. Mason and VCU both do not have football teams.
Ryan Bamford has been the Athletic Director at UMass since 2015. Thorr Bjorn has been the Athletic Director at URI since 2007. Ed McLaughlin has been the Athletic Director at VCU since 2012.
During the 2016-2017 season Edwards made $306,000 while Bamford mad $250,000, Bjorn made $232,000 and McLaughlin made $350,000.
Bamford and Bjorn, both Athletic Directors at A-10 schools located in New England with football programs, made at least $20,000 less than Edwards in 2016. These same Athletic Directors made at least $60,000 less than McLaughlin.
Tenure does not seem to play a role in the salaries of these Athletic Directors. Bjorn, who started at URI in 2007 and was named one of the Under Armour ADs of the Year in 2016, makes over $100,000 less than McLaughlin, who was hired five years after Bjorn.
Edwards looks to continue the trajectory of the athletics department and also continue to help student-athletes succeed in both in the classroom and in their sport.