VCU loves to throw money at Shaka Smart. In a 2013 Richmond Times-Dispatch article, Smart’s pay was broken down in order to find what his total income from VCU is. His base salary as of 2013 is $450,000. On top of that his supplemental income is $1 million a year. As if that weren’t enough he also receives $25,000 for university-sponsored television and radio appearances. He makes another $25,000 to speak at or attend university sponsored events. In total Smart’s compensation amounts to $1.5 million a year.
In addition to that he makes $6,500 for each VCU game broadcast nationally and $3,500 for each game broadcast outside of VCU or the Atlantic 10. Smart receives a yearly clothing allowance of $10,000. If the Rams win 20 games or more in a season Smart receives a $20,000 bonus. He even receives $4,000 for each player who graduates upon the completion of their athletic eligibility and $2,000 for each player who graduates within a year.
Sure, the only time we’ve gotten to the NCAA’s Final Four, Smart was the coach. Is that what makes him deserving of this incredible compensation? The enrollment during the 2010-2011 school year reached 23,483 students. The national recognition that VCU received from reaching the Final Four brought in more students.
The 2011-2012 school year saw 23,754 undergraduate students enrolled and the 2012-2013 school year reached 23,951 students enrolled. However, enrollment fell in the 2013-2014 school year and ended up decreasing to 23,657 students. The limelight lasted for merely two years which brought in, at most, 483 more students. Of course, there is not a direct correlation between reaching the Final Four and an increase in enrollment, but Smart has not brought VCU Athletics to the level of other Virginia universities in the area. VCU Athletics has a $10,000 allowance for Nike apparel; this makes up about 3 percent of the total athletic equipment budget according to a Jan. 21 Richmond Biz Sense article.
The deal that put this in place also requires VCU to spend a majority of the remaining 97 percent on Nike products. The deal that Virginia Tech has with Nike allows VT to receive $1 million for their apparel allowance. The University of Virginia receives $1.3 million in apparel each year. VT also receives $275,000 in cash each year for their deal with Nike. VCU will put the Nike logo on television more times than ever before this season. Whether or not this will lead to a better deal when the contract ends in 2015 is not yet known. Even though Smart taking the team to the NCAA Final Four led to the sponsorship from Nike, that’s not good enough to make up for the amount of money Smart receives per year.
VCU, if you can afford to pay this much to the head basketball coach then why have prices for VCU parking increased in order to allow the garages to operate without having to subsidize them? If you can allocate $10.5 million in student fees to a $25 million private basketball practice facility then what happens to the facilities that every student is allowed to use? Do they just get thrown to the wayside so that you can stay in the spotlight with the help of this facility? Is this going to somehow magically teach your players integrity so that players like Briante Weber finally realize that stealing an iPod is morally wrong? Given that it has only been three years since the Final four, I understand it may take more time to see Smart reach his full potential. It will take more time to see his presence acrue more money for VCU than he has been paid. I’m just tired of the wait-and-see game.