Sweet deal! Under new contract, Greg Kampe to reap profits from one 'guarantee game' a year

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Greg Kampe

Oakland's Greg Kampe long has been the lowest-compensated Division I men's basketball coach in the state of Michigan, despite a more-impressive resume than his mid-major counterparts.

His new contract, however, attempts to lessen the gap a bit with a unique clause.

The three-year extension, signed April 1, doesn't increase his base salary by much -- he'll now make $301,165 a year, up from the $288,000 at which he started under his previous deal -- but achievable bonuses could push it closer to $400,000.

Then there's the clause in question.

In his contract, received by The News through a Freedom of Information Act request, there's something called a "Scheduling Buy Game."

Under this clause, prior to each season, athletic director Steven Waterfield will select one of Oakland's "guarantee games" -- or a game in which Oakland is paid a flat fee for traveling to another site, usually at a Power Five program.

Whichever game Waterfield picks, Kampe will receive the payout for that game, minus all the program's expenses, such as travel, hotel and meals.

This upcoming season, Oakland has two guarantee games -- at Maryland on Saturday, Nov. 18, and at Syracuse on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Maryland is paying Oakland $90,000 for the game, and Syracuse is paying $95,000.

So, under the new contract, Kampe, not the university, will receive the profits from whichever game Waterfield picks.

Oakland’s game with Michigan State at Little Caesars Arena this year isn’t a “guarantee game,” because it’s a part of a six-year series that alternates between Detroit and East Lansing.

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Typically, expenses for a men's basketball trip run between $15,000 and $18,000, so Kampe could stand to earn up to $80,000 under the clause.

Given his bonus structure, that means he could end up earning close to $500,000 a year under the deal, which runs through 2022-23.

It's a clause that is very uncommon, given universities aren't prone to giving up such significant paydays. But Kampe long has been told there's not much money in university coffers to increase his pay significantly – he only recently received a car allowance, which is standard fare for college coaches, and he doesn’t even get a membership to a golf club, even though Oakland has its own on campus – so this was a compromise.

It'll also serve as incentive for Kampe and Waterfield to keep scheduling big-time guarantee games -- at least one more a year, so the university can recoup the payday.

Kampe, 63, didn't want to comment to The News about his new contract.

He is entering his 36th season at Oakland, which he's taken from Division II to Division I, and from the Summit League to the Horizon League. Only Syracuse's Jim Boeheim (entering his 44th season) and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (40) have been coaching basketball at their current schools longer than Kampe.

Asked how long he plans to coach, Kampe told The News last month, "I come to work every day wanting to make Oakland great. And as long as I have that feeling every day, I'll work till I drop over."

Kampe is 618-455 at Oakland, which he's taken to the NCAA Tournament three times in Division I, most recently in 2010 and '11, and before that four times in Division II.

Waterfield has been athletic director at Oakland since early August 2018, and this is the first contract he's negotiated with Kampe. He replaced Jeff Konya, who left Oakland to become athletic director at Northeastern.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984