There continues to be a lot of media attention being played to rising costs facing D-1 football programs. Maybe you think that’s coincidental, but it seems awfully well orchestrated to me.
The latest entry comes by way of Yahoo! Sports, where Jason Peters lets us in on a little known secret: head coaching salaries have been going up! A lot! And many college programs are spending more than they take in!
I know you’re shocked, Captain Reynaud.
There is some highly amusing hypocrisy, courtesy of Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione, who broke the $3 million barrier with Bob Stoops’ contract, and has this to say about negotiating coaching salaries:
“I’ll admit there are some decisions that lead us all to scratch our head,” he said. “… Sometimes it’s like it almost becomes ego driven just to be saying that we may have the highest-paid coach.
“The highest-paid coach? Fine, great. Nobody’s getting extra points (because) you have the highest-paid coach.”
And there’s the guilt trip laid on Damon Evans.
… No conference has impacted the marketplace more than the Southeastern Conference, bastion of powerful football programs and very rich football coaches. Georgia’s Mark Richt is one of five football coaches in the SEC who make more than $2 million a year, and Georgia’s athletic director, Damon Evans, said he feels scrutiny from those who see the SEC as responsible for the rising salaries.
But Evans also pointed out that Georgia enjoyed robust ticket sales last season despite an economic slowdown. That ticket revenue, coupled with the money Georgia makes from TV contracts and the Bowl Championship Series, enables Georgia to pay Richt about $1 million more than the national average.
“And in order to stay competitive you almost have to do that,” Evans said. “But people are no doubt pointing fingers at us…”
People? What people? The ones that can’t afford to keep up. Evans sees the pressure point.
“I do believe that we’ve got to take a look at it and we’ve got to see, ‘Where are we headed in the future? Are we going to continue to create a system of the haves and the have-nots? Are we going to separate ourselves even more?’ Because you know the majority of institutions aren’t making money, aren’t breaking even, don’t have the means to do what some of the others can do.”
The NCAA doesn’t have an anti-trust exemption, so its members can’t collude on limiting coaching salaries, but even if schools could, there’s always the NFL there to drive numbers up for the elite coaches. In the end, there aren’t any magic bullets – a school must either find the money to pay for everything, or cut athletic costs.
Again, it may soon be time to ask whether every school playing D-1 football really needs to be doing that.