USOC pays top employees top dollar
For many of its top employees, it pays to work for the U.S. Olympic Committee
“In an era when some U.S. Olympic athletes have turned to crowd source funding to pay for their
training, the top brass at the U.S. Olympic Committee is doing better than ever financially, writes the
Chicago Tribune’s Olympic reporter Philip Hersh, revealing that in 2013, nine USOC officials
earned more than 200,000 Dollars in base salary, up from seven people a year earlier, and seven
had total compensation of more than 300,000 Dollars, according to the USOC 2013 tax filing.
Atop the list is chief executive Scott Blackmun, whose base salary and bonuses for the last
two years total approximately 2 million Dollars. Blackmun’s compensation in 2013 was 1.3 million
US$, including: a base salary of 506,771 Dollars; a deferred bonus of 425,000 Dollars for bringing
stability to the USOC over the three-year period from the time he took the job in 2010; an annual
bonus of 324,414 Dollars; and other compensation, including retirement fund and health care, of
approximately 34,000 $.
According to Philip Hersh, the stability bonus is a one-time payment that was included in Blackmun’s first contract and allocated for tax purposes over each of the three years. In the continual chaos over the decade that preceded his hiring, the USOC had paid out millions in severance to employees who resigned or were forced out of the organization. The nadir came in 2009, when acting CEO Stephanie Streeter, soon to be pushed aside, had 1 million Dollars in compensation, and Jim Scheer, ousted as CEO by Streeter’s power play earlier that year, had 801,000 $.
“The USOC always has defended its compensation levels by citing comparisons with those of
collegiate conference commissioners and major college athletic directors,” writes Hersh. “Everyone
whose salary is listed on the USOC tax filing for both years received a raise from 2012 to 2013.”
The No. 2 and No. 3 salaries went to Lisa Baird, the chief marketing officer (376,708 $) and Alan
Ashley (298,978 $), the chief of sport performance. Ashley received a raise of approximately 75,000
Dollars. Although the tax filing was for 2013, raises and bonuses had been based on 2012 performance,
when U.S. athletes made a strong showing at the London Olympics.
The tax filings showed USOC revenues for 2013, $168.2 million, were up 36.5 percent over the
last comparable year, 2009. Expenses were up 13.6 percent over the same period. USOC grants to the
national governing bodies for Olympic sports increased 19 percent ($53 million to $63 million) from 2009
to 2013. USOC athlete services payments, which include health care, tuition and performance-based
funding (but not Olympic medal bonuses), increased by 36 percent from 2009 to 2013 and now are
approximately $28 million, according to USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky.
This article was republished with permission from Karl-Heinz Huba, the editor and publisher of The Sport Intern.