Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors Can’t Be Quiet When They Make Over $13 Million in Taxpayer Money

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren has taken a lot of criticism for the way he’s handled the postponement of fall sports and thus football, and much of that is deserved given how haphazardly everything has happened on his watch. The conference released a schedule with supposed guardrails for delays, then canceled the season under a week later. Warren has only spoken on the record through a handful of reporters, his son is playing football in the SEC this season, he contradicted university administrators in an open letter, and he’s been thus far unwilling to even directly listen to the concerns of players and parents.

But ultimately he made the decision after an alleged consensus of Big Ten university presidents and chancellors. These people are quite well compensated with taxpayer money — collectively, about $13.6 million. Yet, most of them are such craven leaders that they won’t even publicly say how they voted — if there ever actually was a vote at all. Minnesota president Joan Gabel said there was never a vote per se, but that there was general agreement to cancel the season. Nebraska chancellor Ronnie Green said there was indeed a vote and he voted against canceling the season. Ohio State president-elect Kristina Johnson reportedly was not ready to vote to cancel the season, but has not said so herself. (Ohio State’s reported planned insurrection met its fate when Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer was allegedly a “roadblock”.)

The Big Ten is made up of 14 universities. With the exception of Northwestern, all of them are public. That a decision of this magnitude can be made by these people and there is no actual individual accounting or accountability of where these chancellors and presidents stood is just astounding. With that as context, we are choosing to name them and publish their salaries to illustrate how absurd it is that most of them are hiding behind commissioner Warren and have gone nearly two weeks in witness protection program.

Unless otherwise noted, these numbers are 2019 salaries — yes, some of these people are taking pandemic pay cuts, but many of them have also gotten raises since these numbers — are from this database from the Chronicle of Higher Education. If you didn’t know what these administrators were earning before, prepare to get sticker shock:


Chancellor: Robert Jones
Base pay: $666,393
Total pay:

System President: Timothy Killeen
Base pay: $600,000
Total pay:


President: Michael McRobbie
Base pay:  
Total pay:


President: James Bruce Harreld
Base pay: $590,000
Total pay:


Chancellor: Jay Perman

Perman was named chancellor of University of Maryland in November 2019 and I can’t find his current compensation, but he reportedly made about $970,000 last year as president of University of Maryland Baltimore.


President: Mark Schlissel
Base pay:
Total pay:

Michigan State

President: Samuel Stanley
Base pay:
Total pay:
Potentially $1 million per year with bonuses


President: Joan Gabel
Base pay:
Total pay:



System president: Walter Carter


Chancellor: Ronnie D. Green
Base pay:
Total pay:

Ohio State

President: Kristina Johnson
Base pay:
Total pay:


Penn State

President: Eric J. Barron
Base pay:  
Total pay:


President: Mitch Daniels
Base pay:
Total pay:


President: Jonathan Holloway
Base pay:



Interim system president: Tommy Thompson
Base pay:

Chancellor: Rebecca Blank
Base pay:
Total pay:


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Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.


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  1. What, you were expecting accountability from these people? Keep in mind, these overpaid nincompoops preside over institutions that crank out thousands upon thousands over functionally illiterate, unemployable “graduates” every year, many of them saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt that they’ll never be able to retire on their barista salaries. Accountability? That’s for you small people crouching out in hickville or in the inner city.

  2. Just the tip of the iceberg

    Whenever i see the excessive salaries of academics and school admin and such, I can’t help but think of the message it sends to students. Skill doesn’t pay in the world of Academics.

    The vast vast majority of college educated people will never approach salaries like these. And these Same students often have to borrow money 💴 in huge amounts so that these overpaid employees can get their cash.

    Meanwhile, the same overpaid types order others around like pawns on a chess board. There is a lesson in here some where.

  3. And then you have his Highness Mark Emmert, who made 3.9 Mil in 2019, and has his own private jet to fly him wherever and whenever he chooses. You may now kiss the ring.

  4. Private jet paid for by the NCAA that is, not paid for with his money. You have to love an “amateur” sports league that pays their CEO $75,000 per week.

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