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News Of The Day: College Football Coaches See Salaries Rise in Down Economy

with 3 comments

USA Today has a great report about the increase in wages for college football coaches and assistants that we’re seeing even as universities cut staff, cut programs and furlough other employees as a result of the bad economy.  I love college football.  We all do here.  But haven’t we lost perspective when a school is paying a coach $2.8 million a year and has $430 million dedicated to football stadium improvements at the same time it’s suffering a $150 million cut in state funding?  These are still supposedly institutes of higher education, right?

Read all about it here


Written by Austin Swafford

November 11, 2009 at 7:19 pm

3 Responses

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  1. It’s one of those catch-22’s… it takes a lot of money to get the really good coaches and staff, which then produce a lot more money for the football program (which is already responsible for a lot of a school’s revenue at many colleges). No pay, no revenue. 2.8 million dollars might seem like a lot, but compare it to the 60-90 million dollars top programs are making (and I’m talking JUST from football) and it doesn’t seem all that unreasonable. If a program opted for a lesser coach at a lesser salary, say $500k but managed a mere 55 million dollars in revenue instead of the 63 million dollars Texas football made in 2008 (for example)… wouldn’t it be money well spent?


    November 12, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    • It would if it ends up bringing in more money than they’re spending. However, it would appear that a lot of that ends up just getting offset by the money they spend to keep up stadiums, modernize stadiums, etc. $2.8 million isn’t an outrageous amount. $430 million is, especially when the school is making all those cuts to educational programs. I know the sports bring in lots of money to the schools, but I have to wonder how much good it’s doing if schools are still having to make the cuts they are to educational areas.

      Austin Swafford

      November 12, 2009 at 8:41 pm

  2. I think that story is a bit lopsided in that it leaves out a lot of pertinent information, and that the numbers are not out of line at all.

    Consider first that there is a public mandate in California, the location of the $480 million in facility improvements, for earthquake proofing large public venues like stadiums the same way anti-terrorism mandates have affected locations like New York. What’s more, consider that large public universities in large states, like California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Ohio, have revenues in the BILLIONS of dollars. Ohio State University for example (somewhat less funded and profitable than Cal) made just under $3.6 billion last year.

    It’s also unfair to compare coaches to professors, as professors have this thing called tenure. Coaches have this thing called win or you’re out. And while professors may not make the same money as coaches and assistant coaches, there are far more assistant professors and lesser university staff, and they tend to make salaries inordinate to their non-university counterparts. They are not exactly underprivileged.

    Also keep in mind that Cal just lost $800 million in state funding (most of which was already budgeted) due to the state’s economic crisis. Share and share alike, I guess. But the regents there have been adamant that their only way to recoup financial stability is to “heighten investment”… that means to get more donors and more enrollment. Cutting academics, not too surprisingly, doesn’t usually hurt either of those. But subsidizing athletics most certainly does. That DC “think tank” spokesperson makes it sound like the regents can just budget whatever monies they want wherever they want, but that’s simply not the case.

    It might appear that universities are funding and subsidizing athletics and other “revenue generating” ventures at the expense of academics, but in this kind of economy, they for the most part have to. Without the money, there would be no academics at all.


    November 13, 2009 at 12:47 am

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