Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Taking One For The Team

Published Saturday, August 02, 2008 www.Theeagle.com
Texas A&M University athletic director Bill Byrne received a $204,000 salary boost and a 21/2-year contract extension Friday. The increase, approved Friday by the Texas A&M System Board of Regents, brings Byrne's salary to $690,000 annually. His contract now extends through Aug. 31, 2013.

Published Friday, July 03, 2009 www.TheEagle.com
Two of the longest-tenured members of the Texas A&M University athletics department lost their jobs Thursday in a budget-cutting move that eliminated 17 positions from the department.

Billy Pickard and Jim Kotch have a combined 73 years of service in the department. They were casualties of what athletics director Bill Byrne called a reduction in force that was required to complete a $4.5 million budget cut. Byrne said in a statement that the athletics department had to eliminate the positions because A&M officials could make only $3.5 million in cuts without reducing personnel."

Later in the same article we find out:
Four years ago, former A&M President Robert Gates and Byrne agreed that the athletics department would receive a $16 million line of credit from university funds for coaches' salaries and new facilities. The deal allowed the department access to the credit for four years, with 10 years to repay the money without interest. The first quarterly payment is due Nov. 30.
OK, so athletics, which everyone says "supports itself" through ticket sales needs to borrow money. That's understandable, but......
The line of credit was revealed last month in a self-critique of former A&M President Elsa Murano. "The athletics department has been operating in a deficit situation for several years," Murano wrote. "
OK, so you have been operating in a deficit for several year, but one year ago you give the man who is at the helm of the red ink spewing ship a $204,000.00 salary boost.

My question to Mr. Byrne, when you stated:
"This difficult decision [Reduction in Force] came after an exhaustive review of the entire program and with great reluctance."
Did you think about giving back your salary boost to save the jobs of your staff?

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