Discussion of salaries for assistant football coaches is not new for the University of Wisconsin.
Former UW head coach Bret Bielema said it was one of the reasons why he left the Badgers for Arkansas back in 2012. Former defensive coordinator Dave Aranda took the same position at LSU this past summer and received a substantial raise.
According to a USA Today database, UW's nine assistant coaches make a combined total of $2,862,520. That total ranks ninth in the Big Ten among the 12 teams from which USA Today acquired salary data (Northwestern and Penn State are not required to publicly release employee contracts). UW was eighth in 2015.
The Badgers' total only surpasses that of Purdue, Rutgers and Indiana. Ohio State leads the Big Ten by paying its nine assistant coaches a total of $4.5 million. The Buckeyes are followed by Michigan ($4.3M), Nebraska ($3.7M), Iowa ($3.6M), Michigan State ($3.4M), Illinois ($3.2M), Minnesota ($2.9M) and Maryland ($2.9M).
UW's top-paid assistant is offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph, who pulls in $575,635 with a max bonus of $134,112. He ranks 66th in the country and 13th in the Big Ten.
UW has taken measures to increase its assistant coaches salaries. UW head coach Paul Chryst requested a change to the team's postseason bonus policy, advocating for a change from a bonus payment based on a percentage of each coach’s base salary to a system where coaches get a share based on the percentage of the coaching staff’s pooled base salary.
Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox will also get a significant raise in his second year with the Badgers. His salary will jump from $500,000 to $950,000.