- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 9, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Records regarding salaries, contracts and sponsorship deals for the Illinois High School Association are kept secret despite more than 80 percent of its members being public schools, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report.

Documents obtained by the newspaper (http://bit.ly/1FElYuJ ) show salary and benefits for executive director Marty Hickman increased by 24 percent - or $73,007 - for the 2013-2014 school year, bringing his total to $372,293.

But little else about his contract or details about TV sponsorship and other deals that the nonprofit organization has brokered is available to the public.

A Cook County judge recently upheld IHSA’s position that it is not subject to the state’s Freedom of Information law because it is a private association. The documents it does disclose include yearly Internal Revenue Service filings and audits.

The organization also has been scrutinized by state lawmakers over the almost $11 million it pulls in from deals and whether its more than 800 member schools should have a larger cut.

Records for the 2013-2014 school year show ISHA took in revenues totaling about $10.7 million, with $5.5 million coming from ticket sales for playoff and championship events. IHSA paid $2.6 million of that money to hundreds of hosting schools, held on to $1.7 million and paid another $1 million to sports officials at the events.

In the 2012-13 school year, the IHSA spent $3.1 million on salaries and benefits, according to the IRS. Hickman’s base salary of $202,676 puts him in the same bracket as the state’s highest-paid school administrators.

The IHSA responded Monday on Twitter, noting that Hickman’s $155,375 in retirement and other deferred compensation is an “accrued service cost,” not part of cash wages he receives.

Hickman’s base pay decreased 1 percent from the 2012-2013 school year to last year, according to the newspaper’s report. But his deferred compensation doubled, bringing the total increase to 24 percent, the Sun-Times found.

Hickman started with the sports association in 1991 and has said he plans to retire in January 2016. He has recently helped defend IHSA from a class-action lawsuit accusing it of failing to prevent concussion among high school football players.

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Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://chicago.suntimes.com/

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