The University of Connecticut football team had a 1-11 record this past season and set NCAA Bowl Subdivision records for points and yards allowed per game – an utterly unrewarding campaign by nearly all accounts.
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Except, that is, for the bank accounts of head coach Randy Edsall, former defensive coordinator Billy Crocker and offensive coordinator John Dunn.
The trio is collecting a combined $84,000 in bonuses connected to the team’s on-field performance, university documents show.
The payments come from a series of game-by-game and season-long statistical incentives that were offered in the coaches’ contracts and then set out specifically on an annual basis by athletics director David Benedict. For example, Edsall could get $2,000 and Dunn $1,000 for each game in which UConn scored first this past season – which it did six times.
The itemized final amounts were set out in memos from Benedict to each coach dated Jan. 2 that the school provided to USA TODAY Sports on Friday in response to an open-records request.
Edsall totaled $56,000. Crocker – who was fired in December – accumulated $14,500, and Dunn $13,500.
Edsall’s total is greater than the amounts some schools paid their head coaches as bonuses for bowl appearances. Edsall’s basic compensation from the school for the season was $1.1 million. That made him the second-lowest-paid head coach among the 10 schools in the 12-team American Athletic Conference for which USA Today Sports could obtain a compensation total for its annual pay survey this past fall. He was 80th nationally out of 123.
SALARY DATABASE: See what the coaches make.
The Huskies met none of the season goals, according to the payment documents. But a 62-7 loss to Boise State resulted in $2,000 for Edsall and $1,000 for Crocker because UConn had better red-zone scoring efficiency than the Broncos did. (UConn was 1 for 1, Boise State 4 for 5, according to the game statistics on UConn’s web site.).
For the season, at least one bonus was achieved in 9 of the Huskies’ 12 games, including a 49-7 loss to Cincinnati and a 57-7 loss to Temple.
The coaches’ incentives began with an amount for each win — $10,000 for Edsall, $2,500 apiece for Crocker and Dunn.
UConn’s lone victory – a 56-49 win over Rhode Island, a Football Championship Subdivision team – actually resulted in $26,000 for Edsall; $7,500 for Dunn and $5,500 for Crocker when you combine the win bonus with other goals reached.
And, according to the offer letter governing his employment, the bonuses mean not only a one-time payment for Edsall, but also an increase in his compensation for the 2019 season that is equivalent to his bonus total.
Crocker was let go after a season in which the Huskies allowed averages of 50.4 points and 617.4 yards per game. The yardage amount translated to more than 8.8 yards per play. The previous FBS per-game season records were 50.3 points by Louisiana-Lafayette in 1997 and 560.8 yards by Kansas in 2015.
The bonuses also included amounts for reaching any of a series of goals in each game and/or for the season. If the Huskies led at halftime, it triggered a bonus. If they had more sacks in a game than their opponent did, it meant another bonus. If they ended the season ranked among the top six in the 12-team American Athletic Conference in a specified category, it triggered a bonus.
Based on their respective units’ performance, Crocker and Dunn had six goals for each game at $1,000 per goal achieved, and five for the season that could pay anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.
Edsall had all of his coordinators’ offensive and defensive single-game and season goals available at $2,000 per individual-game goal achieved and $10,000 to $50,000 per season goal achieved. Edsall also had season goals for special teams.
Crocker’s and Dunn’s bonuses were capped at $50,000 apiece. Edsall’s were capped at $150,000, and he could add no more than $100,000 to his pay for the next season.
Amid this news, the Associated Press reported Saturday that Benedict hadn’t ruled out cutting some sports in the school’s athletics department to close a $40 million gap in its budget.
Connecticut’s athletics program received $8.5 million in student fees and $30.4 million from the institution’s general fund during its 2018 fiscal year and still had a $1.6 million operating deficit, according to the school’s new financial report to the NCAA, which USA Today Sports obtained this week.
In 2017, the program received $8.3 million in fees and $33.9 million from the general fund and ended with a surplus of just over $250,000. The combined total of $42.2 million in money allocated by the school was the greatest for any Division I public-school athletics department by a little more than $3 million.