By Philip Hersh, Tribune reporter
7:21 PM EDT, May 19, 2014
In an era when some U.S. Olympic athletes have turned to crowd source funding to pay for their training, the top brass at the U.S. Olympic Committee is doing better than ever financially.
In 2013, nine USOC officials earned more than $200,000 in base salary, up from seven people a year earlier, and seven had total compensation of more than $300,000, according to the USOC 2013 tax filing made public Monday.
Atop the list is chief executive Scott Blackmun, whose base salary and bonuses for the last two years total approximately $2 million.
Blackmun’s compensation in 2013 was $1.3 million, including: a base salary of $506,771; a deferred bonus of $425,000 for bringing stability to the USOC over the three-year period from the time he took the job in 2010; an annual bonus of $324,414; and other compensation, including retirement fund and health care, of approximately $34,000.
The stability bonus is a one-time payment that was included in Blackmun’s first contract and allocated for tax purposes over each of the three years. In the continual chaos over the decade that preceded his hiring, the USOC had paid out millions in severance to employees who resigned or were forced out of the organization.
The nadir came in 2009, when acting CEO Stephanie Streeter, soon to be pushed aside, had $1 million in compensation, and Jim Scheer, ousted as CEO by Streeter's power play earlier that year, had $801,000.
The USOC always has defended its compensation levels by citing comparisons with those of collegiate conference commissioners and major college athletic directors.
Everyone whose salary is listed on the USOC tax filing for both years received a raise from 2012 to 2013.
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The No. 2 and No. 3 salaries went to Lisa Baird, the chief marketing officer ($376,708) and Alan Ashley ($298,978), the chief of sport performance.
Ashley received a raise of approximately $75,000.
Although the tax filing was for 2013, raises and bonuses had been based on 2012 performance, when U.S. athletes made a strong showing at the London Olympics.
The tax filings showed USOC revenues for 2013, $168.2 million, were up 36.5 percent over the last comparable year, 2009. Expenses were up 13.6 percent over the same period.
USOC grants to the national governing bodies for Olympic sports increased 19 percent ($53 million to $63 million) from 2009 to 2013. The NGBs use dispense some of that money to individual athletes.
USOC athlete services payments, which include health care, tuition and performance-based funding (but not Olympic medal bonuses), increased by 36 percent from 2009 to 2013 and now are approximately $26 million, according to USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky.
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