Report: Ray Anderson to receive same ASU salary after resignation from athletic department

Nov 16, 2023, 12:15 PM

Ray Anderson, Arizona state athletic director...

Arizona State Sun Devils athletic director Ray Anderson looks on before the college football game between the Oregon Ducks and the Arizona State Sun Devils on November 23, 2019 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Former Arizona State vice president for university athletics Ray Anderson will make the same $950,000 per year salary until 2026 as he transitions into a teaching role, a school spokesperson told The State Press.

After stepping down as athletic director for ASU athletics on Nov. 13, Anderson will remain a professor of practice and senior adviser at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The State Press, ASU’s student newspaper, reported Wednesday that Anderson’s “contract will be modified … per the spokesperson, there will be no buyout to his athletic contract, and his pay will remain the same, unadjusted for the change in assignment.”

Anderson has taught the course, “Negotiations & Alternative Dispute Resolutions in the Sports Industry,” in the spring semester for the past three years while also working as an associate professor at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. He is now one of the highest-paid professors in the country.

Jim Rund, ASU senior vice president for educational outreach and student services, will serve as interim athletic director. Rund served as interim athletic director before Anderson’s hiring in 2014.

Anderson’s achievements

Prior to his resignation, Anderson spent nearly a decade as ASU’s vice president for university athletics. He oversaw an expansion of ASU’s athletic department to 26 varsity sports during his tenure while reaching one of the largest naming rights deals in college football history, renaming Sun Devil Stadium to Mountain America Stadium.

In addition to his achievements in the athletic department, Anderson oversaw the overall academic success at ASU improve.

ASU’s Graduation Success Rate increased every year of his tenure. In 2023, ASU recorded the highest Academic Progress Rate in the Pac 12 for the second year in a row. Anderson resigned with three years left on his contract.

“It has been a privilege to serve as ASU’s athletic director for nearly a decade,” Anderson said in Sun Devil Athletics’ press release announcing his resignation on Monday. “We have entered an unprecedented era where the number and magnitude of changes in the college sports landscape are astounding. As I approach 70, these are not matters that my leadership would be able to corral during my tenure … I am choosing to step aside to let the university find that leader.”

Herm Edwards/NCAA controversy

While Anderson’s tenure was marked by successes, it was also filled with controversy.

The Herm Edwards hire in 2017 and his run as head coach of Sun Devil football clouds Anderson’s tenure.

In 2020, the NCAA launched an investigation into the football program alleging that it hosted high school recruits on campus during an NCAA-imposed recruiting dead period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it’s still an ongoing investigation, it led to the departures of numerous coaches as well as a self-imposed bowl ban for the 2023-24 season, the first overseen by new coach Kenny Dillingham.

Edwards was let go three games into the 2022 season following an ugly loss to Eastern Michigan. He soon rejoined ESPN where he’d spent nearly a decade before his time at ASU as an NFL and college football analyst.

Anderson’s NIL stubbornness

Anderson’s attitude on NIL didn’t help his cause. In February 2022, he said Arizona State wouldn’t get involved in the game’s changing landscape.

“One thing’s for sure: The model has changed and … we will not and have no intention of being in an arm’s race to provide NIL that really results in bidding wars. We can’t do that,” Anderson said on Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta a year ago.

Following Anderson’s departure, Dillingham stressed the need for improvement within the program. He emphasized that NIL is “over 80 to 85% of the process” of recruiting.

“It’s everything. If you want to win in college athletics, you better have NIL. It’s as simple as that. When push comes to shove, the one question is, ‘What do your guys make?'” Dillingham told AXIOS in September. “Our NIL program is getting better, but we are still extremely behind.”

Dillingham this week noted that any time there is a change within a program, the opportunity for engagement in NIL is prominent.

“We’ve got about a month,” Dillingham said. “We’ve got to step it up and we’ve got to get rolling at a rapid, rapid, rapid, rapid, rapid rate in these next three weeks to one month.”

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