Gene Taylor's contract extension: What's new, and where Kansas State's athletics director stands to benefit

Ryan Black, The Manhattan Mercury, Kan.
·3 min read

Mar. 26—Gene Taylor's contract extension includes not only a big pay bump but also a number of significant bonuses.

A Mercury comparison of the K-State athletics director's new contract, announced Wednesday, to his previous one shows that the biggest change is a list of performance-based incentives.

Simply: If K-State wins, Taylor wins, too.

The five-year extension keeps Taylor through the 2027 year and raises his base pay 32% from $700,000 to $925,000 next year.

Under the "Salary and Incentive Compensation" part of Taylor's contract, K-State added a new section: performance incentive payments. When he signed his old contract upon his hire in April 2017, the performance of various athletics programs had no bearing on Taylor's bank account.

It does now.

Beginning with the 2021-22 contract year, Taylor can make up to $75,000 in performance bonuses each year. The only catch: Taylor still must be K-State's AD at the end of the contract year to receive the bonus. If not, he forfeits the money.

The document includes the following incentives:

— $40,000 if the football team participates in a "New Year's Six" bowl (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Peach, or Fiesta bowls).

— $25,000 if the men's basketball team earns an NCAA Tournament bid; $30,000 if the team advances to the Sweet 16; and $40,000 if the Wildcats make it to the Final Four. (Taylor only would be eligible for one of those bonuses per NCAA appearance.)

— The same incentives are in place for the women's basketball team: $25,000 for an NCAA Tournament berth, $30,000 for a Sweet 16 run and $40,000 for a Final Four appearance.

— $10,000 if a team wins a conference championship. (Taylor only is eligible for one incentive per team per year. For instance: He can't "double up" if the men's or women's basketball team wins the conference regular-season championship and then goes on to capture the league tournament, too.)

— $20,000 if any team wins a national championship in a contract year.

— $10,000 if any team achieves the highest overall graduation success rate (GSR) in the conference in which the university is a member.

The contract caps total bonuses at $75,000.

In addition to the performance-based incentives, K-State agreed to a no-interest loan of $250,000 per year for seven years to Taylor to pay the premiums on a cash-value life insurance policy. The 13-page agreement for that loan arrangement, which The Mercury obtained via the state's public-records law, outlines an arrangement under which:

— If Taylor dies, the policy would pay $4 million to his beneficiaries, minus whatever is owed to K-State for the loan for the premiums.

— If Taylor retires in good standing, K-State would forgive the loan, and no longer would be obligated to continue making the premium payments.

In essence, assuming Taylor stays on as athletics director for seven more years, the $1.75 million paid into the life insurance policy by K-State would become additional compensation to him. Taylor is 62. If he leaves in good standing prior to that, whatever had been paid in up to that time would become his. But if he is fired for cause, he'd have to repay the loan.

Mercury publisher Ned Seaton contributed to this report.