Ryan Kopacsi will be making $35,000 for his services between the days of August 25, 2013 and June 9, 2014, according to documents obtained by me through Virginia’s Open Records Act. In addition, Leslie Lopez will make $5,000 as Ryan’s assistant and VCU will give serious consideration to raising that to $10,000 “in subsequent years”. Both Ryan and Leslie will now be members of the College Band Directors National Association, courtesy of VCU Athletics.
The four page contract contains much boilerplate legalese – including that Kopacsi will never exceed 29 hours in a given week, ensuring that he remains a part-time employee and is not eligible to receive health care, retirement benefits, or leave benefits. He is, however, now officially an instructor in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. In addition, VCU Athletics will foot 100% of the bill should Kopacsi ever decide to pursue his bachelor’s degree at VCU, no matter what he majors in.
Kopacsi, in accordance with NCAA regulations, must receive prior written approval from the president of VCU for all athletically-related income and benefits, including sports camps, complimentary ticket sales, endorsement contracts, and my favorite: country club memberships (Ryan being the kind of guy who hangs out at country clubs). He is disallowed from using VCU and the NCAA’s name in the endorsement of commercial products or services for personal gain without prior approval, and cannot accept compensation from other institutions, agents, and television networks.
He also may not represent any of our student-athletes in an attempt to bolster their reputation with an agent or professional sports team. And if you were hoping to use Kopacsi as an in to meet Larry Sanders, I’m sorry to say you won’t be able to buy the privilege. He cannot get paid for arranging endorsements or appearances by former student-athletes.
More interesting to many than his salary or the NCAA rules governing athletics instructors is what benefits were included for the Pep Band itself. The Peppas had previously played at the games of sports other than basketball, but now they are contractually obligated to play up to four. To compensate the band for their now-mandatory involvement in men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and baseball, they will be paid $2,000 “by way of fundraising donations or additional athletics marketing dollars” and $8,000 to cover operating costs.
In return for the favor, the Peppas, directed by Kopacsi, will attend (and presumably play at) up to 5 corporate sponsorship events and 5 athletic development events annually. Let’s hope the folks at MeadWestvaco and HCA love the Peppas as much as we do.
Finally, those of you who find yourself out in the cold this coming season, listen up: Ryan now has two extra tickets for each home game. Hit him up on Twitter @VCUathleticBand or on Facebook at VCU Pep Band.