Patrick Kraft begins his tenure as Penn State's new athletic director July 1 with a bold goal: to win national championships in all 31 varsity sports that the university sponsors.
"We are 31 [programs] strong," Kraft said at a press conference in late April. "Hear me again. We are 31 strong. And we are committed to winning national championships and conference championships in 31 sports. We will continue the tradition of winning. We will have success with honor and win. That tradition is Penn State."
That's ambitious goal-setting, to be sure, and a strong introductory tone to set for athletes, coaches, fans and donors. But Kraft generates some personal goodwill as well. When Penn State wins, he wins.
According to the term sheet Penn State released, Kraft's five-year contract includes a host of performance bonuses. Some are academic-based but most center on competition. In all, Kraft's bonus list includes 16 opportunities to add to his average $1.3 million annual salary.
For instance, Kraft receives $100,000 if Penn State plays in a College Football Playoff semifinal game, $50,000 if the team plays in a New Year's 6 bowl game and $50,000 if the men's or women's basketball team plays in the NCAA Final Four.
In all, Kraft can make up to $250,000 in performance bonuses annually, according to the term sheet.
"I'm here to win," Kraft said, repeating the statement for emphasis. "And we are going to win. We are going to add to the 80 national championships and 303 conference championships. We will do this with integrity. We'll do it with hard work, grittiness and toughness. We're going to do it with passion, and we're going to have a good time."
Doing that will require what Kraft called a "deep dive" into Penn State's finances. In its most recent financial report, Penn State athletics reported a $23.9 million deficit for fiscal year 2021, which covered the period from June 2020-June 2021, the heart of the pandemic-related closures.
Penn State rebounded last season, notably by hosting 747,595 fans for the home football schedule, ranking second nationally in attendance.
"My job is to make sure that the coaches and student-athletes have everything they [need], and then I need to go advocate for them," Kraft said. "I need to sit down with colleagues across campus and say, 'Hey, here's some of the pain points that we're having. How do I help that kind of progress through the system that is Penn State?' But I can't be afraid to do that. We can't operate in fear."
Here's a look at the performance bonuses in Kraft's term sheet, broken down by category. Bonuses regarding the Learfield Directors' Cup, football and basketball are not cumulative. Kraft receives the highest bonus achieved in each category.
Learfield Directors' Cup
- $50,000 for winning Learfield Directors’ Cup
- $25,000 for placing in the Top 5
- $20,000 for placing in the Top 10
- $15,000 for placing in the Top 15
- $10,000 for placing in the Top 25
- $100,000 for playing in a College Football Playoff semifinal
- $50,000 for playing in a New Year's 6 bowl game
- $35,000 for playing in the conference championship game
- $25,000 for playing in a bowl game
- $50,000 if the men or women play in the NCAA Final Four
- $35,000 if the men or women play in the NCAA Sweet 16
- $25,000 if the men or women win the Big Ten regular-season or tournament title
- $20,000 if the men or women play in the NCAA Tournament
- $25,000 for each team (other than football or basketball) that wins an NCAA title
- $10,000 if one or more teams wins a conference title
- $30,000 for achieving an overall graduation success rate (GSR) of 92 percent
- An additional $30,000 for an overall GSR of 93 percent
Penn State's most recent GSR was 92 percent.
AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, opinion and perspective on the SI.com network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich. And consider subscribing (button's on the home page) for more great content across the SI.com network.