I started this as a comment in a now buried INPIYLTI so I'll repost here because what the hell why not? Also because I think it's a pretty big deal.
So it’s a new position for us and I think it’s a bigger story than it’s been billed as. I’m very curious as to what the new guy’s salary/exact responsibilities will be, and perhaps more importantly, how they affect Barta’s. Gary is currently at $493k making about half of the $900k that pollard makes (link) and the new hire job description reads as a day to day type guy, a COO kind of setup for Barta to focus on being CEO. Mark Abbot, the Dept’s Assistant for legal affairs who the press release mentions is retiring at 93k a year, which is paltry for an attorney who’s been around as long as he has and presumably had a lot of this day to day management role while Barta has been out spending money like a drunken sailor creating fundraising initiatives and new buildings like crazy over the last five years.
Here’s what’s puzzling-it’s a sideways move (or demotion, really) for the North Dakota State AD (who has overseen them become a football powerhouse and transition to D1). I can’t find the data just yet but we’re obviously paying him similar to or better than his last post to get him here, which would have to be well into the 200k territory. They also have a kid in high school and one who’s already attending ND State. They liked it there. The man is getting paid. He has to be.
This seems to me very much like something that was mandated to Barta from higher up the University administration for what they would perceive as mismanagement/disorganization in the Athletic office and/or Barta trying to wear too many hats, trying to micromanage too many small items (sound like anyone we know?). The athletic dept under Chez Barta has been under a lot of fire for a good many reasons: Alford’s departure/Lickliter’s hire which decimated Iowa basketball for 4-5 years, the high level of debt service without basketball revenue, inking Kirk’s insane contract, the 4-8 football season, the postponed football ticket price increase/reseating, the I-club donation levels increase, the drop in ticket sales, esp student tickets, the Brian Ferentz hire that skirted around university policy, the fan experience at sporting events and on down the list. The main positives for Barta’s track record are hiring Fran to fix the basketball program (after Barta himself ruined it) and whoring out for corporate money to help the balance sheet against all his spending (renaming mediacom court, the new audio/video systems in Carver and now Kinnick for more ads, the new super high donor I-club level and the insane luxury box/parking perks that go along with it).
We all know our Athletic department can be a cash cow when basketball and football are both doing fairly well. this hire seems to be directed squarely at Mr. Barta. The two things any institutional department cries for are help and cash; here’s already got one. So Barta responds to critiques of his department the only way he can, he needs more and better qualified staff to run day to day, that leaves Barta solely responsible to focus on the larger, long term, and lingering problems in his departments. We’re asking the guy who’s been in charge during these problems to fix all these problems with the huge caveat being that the guy they just brought in to ‘help’ Barta and replace other lower level staff is now someone who is qualified for Barta’s job. That’s not necessarily lighting a fire under the guys desk, but it absolutely is intended to let him feel some heat.
And yes, to recap, Jamie Pollard makes $900k a year. just let that soak in.