Jim Phillips ranked 2nd-highest paid athletic director in nation


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Jim Phillips watches from the sidelines of the Northwestern-Maryland football game in October. Phillips received $1.57 million in total compensation in 2017-18, making him the nation’s second-highest paid athletic director.

Ella Brockway, Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips received the second-highest total compensation of all Football Bowl Subdivision athletic directors this year, according to a database released Monday by national law firm Spencer Fane LLP on AthleticDirectorU.com and created in partnership with USA Today.

At $1.57 million, Phillips had the highest compensation in the Big Ten for the 2017-18 fiscal year. He was second nationally to Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who received a total compensation of $3.05 million this year, the database showed.

Phillips’ base salary was just over $941,000, and he was one of 17 athletic directors nationwide listed with a compensation of $1 million or more. Of the 130 FBS athletic directors, 115 are listed with salaries in the database.

The Big Ten as a conference had the third-largest average total athletic director compensation at $938,923, the report showed. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez ranked third overall with a total compensation of $1.55 million, while Ohio State’s Gene Smith was listed as the seventh-highest paid at $1.42 million.

In a similar database created by Spencer Fane LLP for the 2016-17 fiscal year, Phillips was listed as the fourth-highest paid athletic director in the country with a total compensation of $1.34 million. Phillips is in his ninth year in the position at NU, and has held positions on the NCAA Board of Directors and Board of Governors as well as on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee.

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