NEW YORK (MainStreet) With less than five seconds to go in the game, Aaron Harrison puts up a perfect three-pointer that seals the deal: Kentucky defeats Michigan and heads to the NCAA Final Four. The money shot. Certainly not for Harrison at least not yet -- but surely for the Kentucky coaches and the Southeastern Conference (SEC), all of whom will see a combined payday of about $2 million for the "nothing-but-net worth" score.
For just that one winning game, the SEC notches at least $1.5 million from the NCAA's basketball fund, according to Chris Smith with Forbes. And in figures compiled by USA Today and Deadspin, the Wildcats' head coach John Calipari will see a sweet $150,000 bonus on top of his $5.2 million base salary. Add that to the $200,000 in spiffs already in the bank for reaching the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight.
Assistant coaches aren't sitting on the bench empty-handed, either; they get a bonus of two month's salary from the win. That adds up to a total of just over $150,000 among Kenneth Payne (salary $350,000), John Robic (salary $300,000) and Orlando Antigua (salary $275,000). The trio had already banked a one month's salary bonus for making it to the tournament. In fact, just about everyone in the locker room but the players will see a little something extra put in their pockets -- even staff members are likely to see a little gravy.
And if Kentucky wins out, Coach Calipari will score another $350,000 while the assistants will bag another month's salary, as well. Meanwhile, freshman Aaron Harrison, who had been previously characterized as an overrated, average player and mediocre shooter with little chance of being a first-round pick for the NBA, has suddenly started seeing his name climbing up the draft boards.