Aaron Harrison connected on a long, contested 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to give the No. 8 seed Kentucky a 75-72 win over No. 2 seed Michigan in the Midwest Regional final on Sunday evening.
Following a season filled with bumps in the road, Harrison’s heroics gave the Wildcats a smooth road to Arlington, Texas for Saturday’s Final Four against Wisconsin. Harrison is part of a heralded freshman class, which is finally beginning to live up to the preseason hype. Kentucky needed to go through undefeated Wichita State, rival Louisville and Big Ten regular season champion Michigan in order to reach the program’s 16th Final Four. And the coaching staff and athletic department are cashing in on the team’s recent run.
Harrison’s game-winner netted $329,166 for Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart, head coach John Calipari and members of his coaching staff.
That sum was estimated by Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, who posted that number in a tweet, but it was Deadspin that broke down the money, linking to each contract for Barnhart, Calipari and his assistant coaches.
Head coach John Calipari gets a $150,000 bonus. This amount is added on top of the two $100,000 bonuses that Calipari already received when Kentucky reached the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight.
Assistant coach Kenneth Payne gets a bonus equal to two months salary. Payne makes $350,000 a year, so his bonus will end up being about $58,333.
Assistant coach John Robic also gets a bonus equal to two months salary. He makes $300,000 a year, so he’ll get an extra $50,000.
Same deal for assistant coach Orlando Antigua, who makes $275,000 a year. His bonus will be $45,833.
Athletics director Mitch Barnhart will get a $25,000 bonus, in addition to the $25,000 bonus he got when Kentucky made it into the tournament.
These large bonuses will further anger those who feel student-athletes should be compensated by their respective universities, as this story comes to light only days after it was reported that Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith earned an $18,000 bonus for wrestler Logan Stieber’s national championship win.
While Aaron Harrison won’t get a cut of the money for his clutch shooting, his on the court performance this March could have financial benefits in the short run. Neither of the Harrison twins have been part of DraftExpress’ mock draft for several months, though, that hasn’t been updated since March 28. Other draft boards have both Harrisons going in the first round.
Kentucky and Wisconsin will play in the second of two Final Four games on Saturday night with a scheduled tip at 8:49 p.m. A National Title will give Calipari his second in three years at Kentucky, and a $375,000 bonus.