SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota State University head women’s basketball coach Aaron Johnston earned $5,000 for winning the Summit League regular season and another $10,000 for winning the league tournament, according to his contract.
The bonus incentives are part of Johnston’s contract with SDSU.
While Johnston earns a total $15,000 for the championships it’s less than the head men’s basketball coach would have earned for the same accomplishments.
Men’s head coach Eric Henderson would receive $20,000 for a regular season championship and $20,000 if he won the Summit League tournament.
Henderson and Johnston have similar incentive bonuses in their contracts but Henderson’s bonuses are larger.
If the Jackrabbit women advance to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament, Johnston receives $10,000. It’s $15,000 for the Sweet 16 and $20,000 for the Elite 8. If the women reach the Final 4, Johnston would get $50,000. If the Jackrabbits win the national championship, Johnston would receive $100,000.
Henderson would receive $35,000 if the Jackrabbit men advanced to the round of 32 and $40,000 if the team advances to the Sweet 16. The Elite 8 is a bonus of $50,000. The Final 4 gives Henderson $100,000. If the team wins the national championship, Henderson would receive $200,000.
The post-season bonuses total a potential $210,000 for Johnston. The total potential for Henderson is $465,000. The $210,000 is less than Johnston’s base salary of $290,000.
Starting on June 22, Johnston’s base pay was increased to $290,000 from $250,000.
The $465,000 is more than Henderson’s base pay of $325,000.
The difference in pay between a men’s head basketball coach and a women’s head basketball coach at SDSU is not unusual. It’s similar to the pay scales in the Summit League.
KELOLAND News published a story on March 3 on the pay for women’s and men’s basketball coaches in the Summit League.
Nathan Lukkes, general counsel for the South Dakota Board of Regents said in the March 3 story that while the Equal Pay Act applies to pay for men’s and women’s basketball, the legal analysis is complex.
Athletic departments may be using EPA as a foundation to evaluate job skills, responsibilities and other factors to determine coaching pay. Other factors are also considered.
David Herbster, the athletic director at the University of South Dakota said in the March 3 story that “The overall college market is the initial benchmark for salaries we use and then we look within the Summit League and Missouri Valley Football Conference for the secondary benchmark. Success of program, roster size, revenue generation abilities all factor into the equation.”
Johnston is in his 23rd season at SDSU. His teams have reached incentive bonus marks in prior years.
The Jackrabbits have played in six NIT tournaments and won it in 2021. The Jackrabbits have played in at least 10 NCAA tournaments and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2019.
Bonuses are not just attached to the postseason. If the Jackrabbit women beat a Power 5 conference opponent during the regular season, Johnston receives $2,000 per win. The Power 5 is the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC 12 and SEC.
If the men’s team beats a Power 5 opponent during the regular season, Henderson earns $10,000 per win.
Johnston also receives bonuses for the team’s academic performance including $5,000 for a team GPA at or above 3.20.
The men’s GPA must be at or above 3.0 for Henderson to receive $5,000.
Under a 2019 contract, Johnston’s base pay was to increase to $245,000 in from June 22, 2021 to June 21, 2022 and then to $250,000 from June 22, 2022 to June 21, 2023. But, a new contract dated June 2, 2022, increased the base salary to $290,00 on June 22, 2022.
Henderson’s base salary was $275,000 in 2019. It was increased to $325,000 on June 22, 2022. He is scheduled to be be paid $350,000 in a base salary starting on June 22, 2026.