UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State president Eric Barron has said he wants a strong athletic director, someone well-versed in compliance issues and in attracting top coaches. Football coach James Franklin has said he wants someone with whom he can work and build together.
Today, Penn State is scheduled to announce its new athletic director, according to a university source. Penn State will announce the hire at a noon news conference, and, according to a board of trustees announcement, the board’s committee on compensation is meeting at 11 a.m. The source said the committee will be trying to approve the new athletic director’s salary.
Penn State’s outgoing athletic director, Dave Joyner, begins his retirement Aug. 1. He announced his decision to retire last month.
Joyner never won over Penn State fans. He was hired as acting athletic director in November 2011 (moving directly from the board of trustees), shortly after former athletic director Tim Curley was put on administrative leave following his indictment in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.
Whoever replaces Joyner will assume control of an athletic department with greater stability — and with teams routinely competing for conference and national championships — but still plenty of complications. Since the implementation of the Seat Equity Transfer Plan in 2011, football game attendance has dropped by about 8 percent compared to the season before the plan.
Lower attendance has compounded other financial problems.
Penn State athletics has taken out about $35 million in loans from the university to pay off an NCAA fine and other expenses and is slated to take out about $55 million more.
During his tenure as president at Florida State, Barron replaced longtime athletic director Randy Spetman with Stan Wilcox. Wilcox had previously been an associate athletic director at Duke. Like Joyner, who made $396,000 annually, Wilcox was one of the lowest-paid athletic directors in the country. He made $485,000 in the past year with Florida State, according to contract details from fsunews.com.
At Vanderbilt, Franklin worked with David Williams, who is the nation’s highest-paid athletic director, according to USA Today, making $3.2 million annually. He described his relationship with Williams as positive and productive.
“The head coach and the A.D. are going to have to work together to build a successful program,” Franklin said in May. “It has to be that way.”
Mark Dent: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-439-3791 and Twitter @mdent05.
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