Cal Poly Corporation responds to questions about former athletic director

May 27, 2023

Dr. Nick Pettit

By JAKE MATSON – Times Standard

Following the Times-Standard’s article on new Cal Poly Humboldt athletic director Dr. Nick Pettit on Wednesday, the Cal Poly Corporation reached out to clarify their policy on compensation for board members.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo communications specialist Cynthia Lambert emailed on Thursday seeking to clarify the portion of the article, “The Cal Poly Corporation’s 990 forms from 2016 to 2020 show that Pettit earned $999,933 cumulatively including base compensation, retirement and deferred compensation, and nontaxable benefits. That compensation seemingly would have been in addition to his salary as deputy athletic director.”

In her email, Lambert stated, “CPC board members do not earn compensation for their service. The 990 forms report all compensation paid to board members from the organization or related organizations. In case of all board members, any amounts listed are from related organizations (i.e. the university). Compensation listed on the 990 for Pettit would be compensation he earned from the university in his role as deputy athletic director.”

Questions linger as to the exact details that support the notion that CPC board members are not compensated for their service. In the initial publication of the article, the Times-Standard cross-referenced the compensation on the organization’s 990 forms with available data from regarding Pettit’s compensation. The available data from the website regarding his total compensation is as follows:

2021 – $232,389.47
2020 – $233,365.29
2019 – $227,706.03
2018 – $218,206.47
2017 – $198,749.77
2016 – $187,689.17
2015 – $194,149.54

The information for Pettit’s total compensation during his time with the CPC based on 990 forms (the year corresponds to the ending period) stated this:

2020 – $228,735
2019 – $219,822
2018 – $200,181
2017 – $191, 445
2016 – $159,750

The previous article stated that it appeared Pettit’s compensation from the CPC was in addition to his compensation as deputy athletic director. This information was provided to Lambert as the Times-Standard sought to clarify why there were discrepancies. The Times-Standard also requested Lambert provide supporting documentation from Cal Poly SLO, so that the paper could verify Pettit’s actual compensation.

The CPC and Cal Poly SLO were also asked why, if board members are not compensated for their service, did Dr. Pettit’s compensation increase more than $31,000 from 2016 to 2017 (his base compensation alone increased by more than $20,000). That increase also corresponded with Pettit’s position being elevated from director to vice chair, per the 990 form. During that time, his title of deputy athletic director with Cal Poly SLO did not appear to change.

In response to those questions, Lambert provided this emailed response on Friday evening:

“To reiterate, members of the Cal Poly Corporation board of directors do not receive any compensation for their service on the board. Any pay increases that Nick Pettit might have received in his Athletics salary are unconnected to any title changes related to the CPC board. We do not have information to provide regarding what prompted changes in his compensation during his time as deputy athletic director.

Regarding how various numbers may or may not match up, there may be differences in the timeframes of the Form 990s versus those of the salary numbers reported on Transparent California.”

Read more here.

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I just can’t imagine why college is so expensive these days…

I’m curious, have any previous or current CPC board of director members been compensated for being a board member or their services? From time time to time I see CPC “advertise” for board members but I’ve never seen a dollar compensation amount mentioned in their ads.