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Notre Dame Football: New Tax Report Shows Similar 2017 Compensation for Head Coach Brian Kelly and Coordinator Mike Elko

Irish paid nearly $1.5 million to keep Elko, who left for more money at Texas A&M

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Boston College Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish paid handsomely to keep Mike Elko from departing his defensive coordinator position after just one year, according to tax documents released today by the university.

Elko was given $1,486,376 — including a one-time $494,666 payment — for his tenure between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. The defensive coordinator departed Jan. 4 for the same position with the Texas A&M Aggies.

Elko’s total compensation was just $178,644 less than the university paid head coach Brian Kelly, who earned $1,665,020 for the same period.

(It’s important to note here that Kelly is “permitted to receive compensation from external sources” and, because the university is not party to those agreements, it’s not reported on this tax form. So he makes more than what’s reported.)

Although Kelly’s base compensation essentially remained unchanged at $1.292 million, he made $464,618 less in this reporting period than he did between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

The major difference was Kelly’s “bonus and other incentives,” which was $600,000 in last reporting period and $150,000 in this new reporting period. The report doesn’t say if his bonus is based on his team’s performance. But, if it is, it is seemingly on a delay. The Irish went 4-8 in 2016 and 10-3 in 2017.

The university’s top compensated employees for this reporting period were:

  • Scott C. Malpass, the vice president and chief investment officer: $10,125,247
  • Michael D. Donovan, managing director of investments: $4,464,394 (Most of Malpass’ and Donovan’s compensations are incentive based, and reflective of the performance of the university’s endowment pool. The pool returned 10.9 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, and ended the year with a value of $13.1 billion, up from $11.8 billion at the end of the prior fiscal year.)
  • John B. “Jack” Swarbrick Jr., athletic director: $1,688,111
  • Brian Kelly, head football coach: $1,665,020
  • Muffet McGraw, head women’s basketball coach: $1,561,763
  • Michael Elko, defensive coordinator for football: $1,486,376
  • Michael P. Brey, head men’s basketball coach: $1,256,700
  • Rev. John Jenkins, president of the university: $1,086,106 (paid directly to the Congregation of Holy Cross)

Brey’s compensation figure above does not include $1.15 million paid to him by Play by Play Sports, the multi-media marketing rights holder for Notre Dame. McGraw received $300,000 from the same entity.

For the previous reporting period — July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 — it was:

  • Malpass at $6,191,631
  • Donovan at $2,754,303
  • Thomas G. Burish, provost and trustee, at $2,732,629
  • Kelly at $2,129,638
  • Swarbrick at $1,611,908
  • McGraw at $1,395,398
  • Brey at $1,270,838
  • Brian VanGorder, who served as defensive coordinator until Sept. 25, at $1,195,289
  • Rev. Jenkins at $1,056,872

Brey and McGraw received the same amount from Play by Play Sports in this reporting period as they did in the new one.