Recently, California has been the site of a major discussion of university salaries, where recent legislation may allow outside foundations and organizations to add to the university president salaries. At the University of Minnesota, our employees are government workers but do not fall under salary cap legislation, such as the law that no government employee can make 10 percent more than the governor — around $145,000.
Because of this and similar legislation across the country, salaries for University executives, especially among administrative and sports staff, are considerably higher than other government employees and even professors. Former President Bob Bruininks was reportedly paid close to the median of Big Ten Presidents at nearly $750,000 total compensation with a nearly $450,000 base pay. This was over 4.5 times more than the salary for the average tenured professor and considerably less than Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill. Among other public schools the practices of the Big Ten are extreme, as most public universities have a smaller ratio, where presidents widely make about double what professors are compensated.
This treatment of salaries undoubtedly shows where the University’s priorities lie. Take in to consideration that other local government employees have a clear salary cap, these salaries require a closer look and perhaps a readjustment in the future. The Big Ten schools are clearly larger and more complex schools, making the president’s job that much harder. Yet, in a state with strict salary caps to important government employees, the Big Ten seems to be practicing special, more extreme treatment.