Money, Recruiting & More

Croom gets pay raise
Sylvester Croom’s base pay was bumped up from $215,000 to $250,000, the Clarion-Ledger reported. Croom earns about $1 million annually. One other bit of interesting news from the Clarion Ledger’s report, the combined salary of SEC Western division coaches (excluding Croom) is a combined $14.85 million.

Alabama’s Nick Saban and LSU’s Les Miles will each make $3.75 million. New Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino will be paid $2.85 million, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville $2.8 million and first-year Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt $1.7 million.

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Money & Recruiting
UF to get $28-million football facility, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

In July, Florida will open its state-of-the-art football facility at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The building will be home to the football staff offices and pay homage to the program’s success over the past 101 years.

“The No. 1 reason is recruiting,” Meyer said about the facility. “I felt like we were in the bottom half of the SEC with facilities, and like it or not, that’s a big part of recruiting. That’s one of the first questions asked.”

Making Meyer’s dream a reality is a testament to the power of the Gator Boosters, who contributed $33-million to the University Athletic Association last year (the university itself received $190-million in donations). It’s also a prime example of why schools with strong financial backing will always have an edge in the recruiting game.

The UAA’s anticipated budget next season, including booster donations is $85-million, and it has donated $46-million to a UF scholarship fund since 1990. But when UAA staff began plans for the facility, it anticipated funding it at least partially with bonds. Ultimately, it was built with no state funds.

Vandy’s a big spender too
Also spending money on facilities is Vanderbilt. Vandy has committed to a series of new athletic improvements estimated at $50 million over five years by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The plan calls for improvements to improve basketball locker rooms, renovate the football stadium and expand the baseball field.

The Tennessean reports the football program stands to gain the most from the improvements.

With the previous improvements that have been made to basketball and baseball facilities in recent years, Johnson’s program stands to gain the most from the latest round of renovations.

“I think Vanderbilt has gotten tremendous return on its investments,” he said. “We made baseball renovations, and now we’ve got one of the best baseball teams in the country. We added both basketball offices and a new practice facility (in Memorial Gym), and they’re going great guns.

“When you invest, I think you give the teams at Vanderbilt a chance to compete. We’re finally glad that they’re investing in football in the same way. Obviously, football is a bigger expense — more players, a bigger stadium, costs a lot more to do it. But we’re thrilled they said, ‘Let’s bring them up to the same level’. It shows you Vanderbilt is serious about competing.”

Tubberville and Richt visit
Tommy Tuberville and Mark Richt (along with some non-SEC coaches) visited a hospital in Landstuhl on Wednesday. The visit with military men recovering in the hospital was chronicled by Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com.

Another arrest
The AP reported that Arkansas running back Brandon Barnett was arrested Tuesday. Barnett was picked up on an outstanding traffic warrant. Barnett was taken to jail and released on bond. The Northwest Arkansas Times reported the arrest was a contempt of court citation because Barnett has failed to pay the court ordered fines. Barnett is the second player arrested since the hiring of Bobby Petrino.