News Story

U-M More Than Restores Coaches' Pandemic Pay Cuts

University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh made national headlines when he said he would donate the millions he earned in bonuses this season to the athletic department.

U-M stated that Harbaugh rejected the bonus money, which is payable in 2022. The university also said it had compensated other athletic department employees who saw salary reductions in 2020-21. Those employees received one-time payments on Jan. 24, 2022 that essentially cancelled-out previous pay cuts announced by U-M in 2020.

“Whether it’s folks that work here in football or at the ticket department or baseball coaches, (swimming and diving coach) Mike Bottom, there’s so many people that my wife has gotten very close to, the kids have,” Harbaugh said in a USA Today story. “Really just our family way, our family contribution to those that have had some financial strain through the last 18 months.”

Harbaugh’s mention of U-M’s swimming and diving coach was picked up by blogs.

“Harbaugh mentioned head swim Coach Mike Bottom by name while discussing athletics staff who have faced financial strain during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the blog SwimSwam wrote.

Bottom received gross pay of $261,997 from U-M in 2019. In 2020, the first year of the pandemic when many of the athletic department's activities were suspended, this declined to $236,796. In 2021 the swim coach grossed $280,035, which is $18,038 higher than the last year before the pandemic.

U-M women’s softball coach Carol Hutchins appears to have qualified for the 2022 pay restoration. Hutchins' base pay was $469,000 in 2019. That slipped to $429,300 in 2020 but was increased to $488,000 in 2021, $19,000 above her pre-pandemic pay. These figures only refer to base pay, however. U-M has released Hutchins’ gross pay, which was $573,630 in 2019, dropped to $529,421 in 2020, and then went up to $566,280.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.