UI Whitman contract1

University of Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman, shown during his annual media roundtable in June 2019 at Bielfeldt Athletic Administration building in Champaign, could be up for a raise or contract extension when UI trustees meet Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Chicago.

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CHAMPAIGN — With his first winning Big Ten football season underway, University of Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman could get a raise or contract extension next week.

The agenda for Thursday’s UI Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago includes an amendment to Whitman’s contract, but that item was not included when agenda materials were posted Friday morning.

UI officials declined to comment Friday, saying the details are still being finalized.

Whitman signed a five-year contract with a base salary of $600,000 when he was hired in 2016.

His pay this year is $668,561, plus a car allowance of $8,000 annually, according to the UI’s “gray book” of employee salaries. He earned $655,452 in 2018-19.

He is also eligible for up to $200,000 in annual bonuses based on academic, athletic and fundraising goals.

Whitman earns $10,000 for a Big Ten championship in football or men’s and women’s basketball; $25,000 for an NCAA championship in basketball; $30,000 for a football bowl game; and $50,000 for a football national championship.

For other sports, the bonuses are $5,000 for a Big Ten championship or NCAA appearance and $10,000 for a team national championship. Whitman also gets $10,000 to $25,000 if Illinois is in the top 20 schools competing for the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Director’s Cup.

On the academic side, Whitman earns up to $70,000 based on the number of athletes who meet the NCAA’s annual standards for academic progress.

For fundraising, he gets $10,000 for every 5 percent annual increase in gifts to the I-Fund — an addition in a 2018 contract amendment — as well as $20,000 for a 10 percent increase and $40,000 for a 20 percent increase. He’s paid another $25,000 if he lands five gifts of $1 million each, and $30,000 for five gifts of $5 million or more.

The contract also provides the use of two automobiles for Whitman and his spouse, membership in a local country club, and tickets and suites at UI football and basketball games.

The board will also vote Thursday on the appointment of Michael Lipitz, deputy athletic director at North Carolina State, as the UI Chicago’s new athletic director. He will earn $285,000 annually under the terms of his five-year agreement.

Lipitz, who also worked at Maryland, was appointed to the job in October, succeeding Garrett Klassy, who left UIC after two years for a position at Nebraska.


Julie Wurth is a reporter covering the University of Illinois at The News-Gazette. Her email is jwurth@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@jawurth).