Ferentz contract extended, salary same, perks increase


Click to view Coach Ferentz's new contract.

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Five months after Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz and Athletics Director Gary Barta agreed on a new contract, the details have been completed, and Ferentz is now locked in with the Hawkeyes through the 2015 season.

In the new deal, Ferentz’s annual $3.02 million salary went untouched. But perhaps the most notable difference came with benefits — the contract allows Ferentz to have personal use of a private jet for up to 35 hours per year.

“The access to the plane just takes what really is a 24/7-type position, and it just allows a little bit more flexibility,” Barta said. “He does use private planes on a regular basis for recruiting, so this is just one more way to ease the rigorous schedule of the job.”

The release issued Monday states the price from use of the personal private plane could cost up to $85,000, but Barta said the money would come from donations contributed by the National I-Club.
The I-Club is the UI Foundation’s annual fundraising program for Hawkeye intercollegiate athletics.

The fund was established in the early 1970s after officials realized “revenues from ticket sales and media revenues could not keep pace with rising expenses,” according to the UI Foundation website.
Barta said last year, the program brought the athletics department “just over $20 million” in contributions, most of which were used in scholarships.

All of the department’s $65 million total budget was generated through private contributions, he added.

“We’re focused on being 100 percent self-sustained, using no tax dollars,” Barta said. “We’re very fortunate that we have donors who are willing to contribute, and we’re able to take our television revenue and our corporate sponsorship revenue, and we’re able to pull that off.”

While Ferentz’s access to a private jet for personal reasons is a new perk, it won’t change how often Ferentz and his coaching staff use a private plane for recruiting purposes.

The UI does not have its own plane, as do some other major universities and professional sports franchises, and Barta said officials have never considered owning a plane as a high priority.
The private planes used by the athletics department are leased.

However, Barta said, Ferentz’s assistants travel on both commercial flights and on private aircraft while recruiting across the country. Private planes are used as needed for revenue sports such as football and men’s basketball.

“Our recruiting is a mixture,” Barta said. “Often times, we’ll fly commercially. There are times when we’ll fly in a private plane. It really depends on the trip.”

Sometimes the coaching staff needs to visit numerous prospects in a single day, and private planes make that possible, Barta said.

Ferentz’s contract shows that his and Barta’s signatures came in June, but the deal wasn’t official until UI President Sally Mason signed last week.

Although an agreement was reached in February, Barta said it was a matter of ensuring the deal completed before autumn arrived.

Barta said, “[Ferentz] became busy with recruiting, and then as the spring wore on, we had I-Club events, one after another, and really, our goal was just to make sure that the contract was complete prior to football season, so we achieved that goal.”

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