Almost lost in this Rivals’ piece about the rising salary structure for college football assistant coaches – when people look back at this decade, Mike Hamilton is going to be one of the key stories – is a fantastic exchange between South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson and well-known college athletics scold Andrew Zimbalist.
It’s set up with this quote from Johnson about the real world he operates in.
“The SEC is going in some uncharted waters at this time, in some people’s minds,” South Carolina’s Johnson said. “It’s just a whole other world now. It’s capitalism and social engineering running head-on. What these kids are bringing to the universities in cold hard cash is just phenomenal. And assistant coaches had as much to do with it as anybody. When you look at it from a pure business sense, it doesn’t make much sense that we don’t get paid that much.”
To which the economics professor sniffs,
“Colleges long ago stopped caring about the messages they were sending with astronomical coaches’ salaries,” said Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College.
That leads to Johnson’s “oh, snap!” comeback.
“It took me 36 years in coaching to reach this point,” said Johnson, who made $175,000 as defensive coordinator at Mississippi State in 2007. “If I averaged my annual salaries over those 36 years, I think it would come to about $50,000…”
Reading those quotes, which one of those two gentlemen strikes you as having a better grasp of markets and supply and demand? Maybe the professor ought to invite the coach to do a little guest lecturing in one of his classes some time.