Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This is Going to Get Me in Trouble

For two weeks since I read this, I've debated how to address it. I considered posting it anonymously, because it must be said. At the end of these weeks, I decided I would not be true to myself and my own disdain for the hidden.

The shame of our national organization, CoSIDA, was on full display in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

When you look at the national average salaries for administrative positions within higher education, the Assistant/Associate Athletic Director for Sports Information/Communication is by far the lowest within athletics. In fact, there are precious few administrative positions in all of academe with a lower national average.

I know that the leadership of the organization has been very concerned with realigning CoSIDA away from its independence to an alliance with NACDA. That train has left the station.

One of the promises is of having more access to the decision making table. Fair enough -- let's do something about these numbers:

The national average for our administrative lead positions: $46,020.

That's the only position in athletics under $50,000. It's about $10,000 less than the average for the asst/assoc ADs of compliance (you know, when you think about it, another shame on our field). All other positions -- over $60,000.

It's not just that our profession is low on the pay scale and perhaps longest on hours and commitment. Let's bring it down to this: In the page long listing of literally hundreds of averages for positions all across the campus, there were only nine -- NINE -- that paid an average of less than $50,000.

They are:
Assistant Director of Student Activities -- $41,796
Assistant Registrar -- $42,637
Dean of Greek Life -- $45,000
Housing Officer Residence Life -- $45,576


Asst Director of Campus Rec/Intermurals -- $46,444
Director of Mailing Services -- $46,630
Associate Director of the Bookstore -- $47,280
Assoc/Asst Director of Women's Center -- $48.470

This is no shot at any of these other professions. I'm sure they put in their labor as well, and many of them also get or need an advanced degree for consideration. But look at those titles -- Only two are directors -- Greek Life and the Post Office. The rest are subs to a higher paying executive (assistant directors). The assistant/associate ADs for media are usually commanding a staff and front-line with the media and general public.

Let's get the membership motivated and the leadership directed to start dealing with this systemic problem. Retention has become a big buzz word, and the "dead zone" between 10 years experience and 25 years to retirement. Well, I wonder why?

If you can shift across campus on average to become an associate director for publications -- the lowest paying job on average in the external affairs/public relations wing -- for almost $10K more -- $55,085 -- why stay in athletics? Why not go over the wall into the private sector? This is where our best and brightest are headed, and for good reason. The entire rest of University Relations averages above $60,000.

We can be told all day long about how important we are, how valuable to the brand, how critical to managing the reputation of the department. Money talks. Spin walks.


Christopher Byrne said...

Unfortunately, I do not have a subscription to the publication, so I cannot see the methodology and breakdown.

But I do know of one BCS SID making six figures, but that may be more about his longevity as well.

It might be more telling of the information were broken down by conference, school size, number of sports, etc etc.

Then it might be easier to look at the issue?

Bill Smith said...

The methodology isn't the issue. The problem is a raw as the way the Chronicle comes up with the number -- it's an average of what all SIDs make, and the shame -- out and out shame -- is that as a professional group, the media relations chief administrator is the lowest paid in the athletic department, on average, nationwide.

In full disclosure, I'm doing better than that average. I know plenty of those same BCS SIDs in six figures.

Even with their six-figure salaries, they are still pound for pound, hour for worked hour, the lowest paid upper administrators in the department.

When there is an almost $10K difference in the averages, you don't need to break down the numbers to know that nationally, this profession has a problem with its value.

Lauren said...

I speak as a former SID who left the business for that reason (money). I left my asst MR position for an entry level job in Student Life and make close to $5,000 more dollars. My asst MR position wanted someone with at least three years experience and a master's degree. My current position had lesser requirements.

I was also a minority in the field (gender, race and talent-level) and felt that leaving the business was the only way I would move up in the job market and salary level.

It's a shame because most people who enter the business start out loving it. Once you start to feel overworked and underpaid, it's rather easy to leave for a job where you get those things.