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The responsibilities of a football operations assistant can be as multifaceted and diverse as the game itself, spanning the realms of organizational management to inventory control, travel arrangement and event management. Operations assistants organize pre-season camps, including location and nearby housing for players and staff. They also help coordinate meals, ensure the proper equipment is on site, aid in the player recruiting process and manage media events. Collegiate level football operations assistants can also develop a mentor relationship with student athletes, helping them with academic deadlines, course schedules and studying strategies.
Salary in Collegiate Football
According to a 2011 report by the "Oregon Register Guard," football operations assistants at the collegiate level earn approximately $35,000 a year. This translates to a $16.82 hourly wage before tax and benefits for a 40 hour workweek. This figure compares to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from May 2010 estimating the annual mean wage of low-level collegiate team staff members at $49,140, or $23.62 before taxes and benefits. Benefits packages for employees of colleges and universities often include perks such as discounted tuition.
Salary in Professional Football
While the National Football League does not release salary figures for club staff, the BLS indicates that low-level coaching and team management staff in the spectator sports industry earn an annual wage of $60,610, or $29.13 per hour prior to taxes and benefits in a standard 40 hour workweek. All NFL employees receive the league's comprehensive benefits program as part of any salaried position. Benefits include employee discounts, adoption assistance, gym reimbursement and long term disability insurance.
Factors Affecting Salary
The assistant's experience and the level of the football team are the major factors that influence the salary of team management staff, and the position of football operations assistant is no exception. Many individuals seeking a career in sports management adopt the position on a voluntary basis for scholastic or small lower-division college teams to gain experience. Salaries increase among operations positions with elite college programs with their national exposure and large operating budgets. This is echoed by those who land positions in the professional ranks. There are only 32 NFL teams -- so these operations positions are quite rare and attract only highly qualified candidates who expect relatively high pay.
Relevant Background, Experience & Skills
Those aspiring to be football operations assistants are likely to demonstrate a lifelong commitment and love of the game of football. This can include anything from previous playing experience to volunteer management of youth, scholastic or lower-tier collegiate programs. Due to the array of logistical responsibilities inherent in the role, excellent organizational skills are paramount. Football operations management also involves a wide variety of interactions with individuals, from players, coaching staff and media, meaning keen interpersonal communication skills are also an asset.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010 Coaches & Scouts
- ESPN.com: Behind the Scenes: Shawn Donnelly
- Billings Gazette: "WSU names Kramer as football operations assistant", AP, February 2010
- Oregon Register Guard: "UO denies report of operations assistant Josh Gibson’s firing", Jude, July 2010
- NFL Careers: Benefits