First I look at the purse.

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.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

15 responses to “First I look at the purse.

  1. Castleberry

    Sounds like the Smith College professor has a case of Cock envy.


  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Andrew Zimbalist is a fine example of how everything is subsumed to politics and morally preening judgments at institutions of supposedly higher learning. If he really wanted to teach economics he would explain how market forces produced Ellis Johnson’s salary, not say things about ‘sending messages.’

    Someone who teaches at Smith College isn’t exactly in a position to learn and appreciate what animates people’s thinking around here.


  3. FLdawg

    Johnson : Buy
    Zimbalist : Sell

    We know colleges and universities have perverted the markets and supply and demand by hiring and keeping their armies of pointy headed professors on tenure. We all remember at least one college professor who was the darth vader on campus.

    A few quick thoughts about the money.

    I dont criticize or envy any man (or woman) who can negotiate a huge salary….as long as they earn it and produce.

    Money DOES tend to corrupt.

    Ex: It was a sad day when our athletics dept made the decision to charge loyal UGA fans to hear radio broadcasts of the games. Has money and greed tainted every corner of our sports programs? Sorry, I have never gotten over this. Can anyone tell me which radio stations stream the games live via internet, cost free? I still believe in dignity and respect for the common man, families, kids.

    Go You Hairy Dawgs!


  4. JaxDawg

    First off, Smith is a liberal arts college attended by lesbians on acid and anti-depressants. That school *had* a reputation as an elite academic institution but they started to believe their own hype and descended into a bastion of political correctness and hyper-liberalism. Now it’s just an expensive elistist school that few take seriously. Except for bull-dykes and the drug addict daughters of wealthy northeastern families.

    Basically, I don’t give two shits about anything coming from Smith – especially from some insulated, arrogant, bitter, ivory tower cocksucker like Andrew Zimbalist.

    The best thing that could happen to *Smith* and the Berkeley’s of the world is to have a daisy cutter dropped on them and rebuild from the septic system up.


    • FLdawg

      Dang, Jax,
      Dont beat around the bush,
      Just tell it straight.

      You Da Man.
      You are correct, sir.

      I am voting for you.

      Smith College, Massachusetts. Just another bunch of elitist obnoxious northern yankees.

      And you can add in all the elite northern sports media and so-called sports intelligencia who scorn and ridicule all of us here in the south.

      The South Rules.
      Georgia Forever!
      Go You Hairy Dawgs!


    • 69Dawg

      +100 JaxDawg


    • hhg


      Love that homophobia. You’re a class act, pal. It’s a disgrace that two people have commented approvingly on your post. If you’d used a racial slur, I can’t help but think that a moderator would have removed it. I’m not sure why gay bashing is treated differently.

      As to the point of the post, the only quote from Zimbalist in the article was “Colleges long ago stopped caring about the messages they were sending with astronomical coaches’ salaries”. Now, I happen to disagree with the professor’s point. I think that colleges care very deeply about the message they are sending with their coaches’ salaries. They are trying to send the message to that they are committed to building winning football teams.

      Putting that aside, nowhere in Zimbalist’s quote does he demonstrate any lack of understanding about supply and demand or the market economy. One can criticize a school’s priorities without being a socialist. (I’ll point out again that I don’t agree with the professor. I think that even if we paid football coaches $25k per year our public colleges would still be underfunded.)

      If someone were to say that the US Government spends too much of its budget on defense, she isn’t demonstrating a lack of understanding of free markets. She isn’t confused about supply and demand. She just happens to think that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

      And how does the good Senator try to make Zimbalist sound effete and whiny? By prefacing the professor’s quote not with “said”, or “remarked”, or “stated”, but with “sniffed”. This is a minor point, but look at the response it generated. JaxDawg started talking about “ivory tower cocksuckers” (Jax, if the rest of your comment didn’t betray what a mouth-breathing dolt you are, I might give you credit for the double entendre.)


      • Dog in Fla

        Armor piercing high explosive hits. Targets disabled and/or destroyed. Bravo Zulu.


      • Hogbody Spradlin

        So its okay for hhg to sling shit at JaxDawg, but not for JaxDawg to do likewise to Zimbalist?

        Do unto others . . .


  5. Dog in Fla

    How can there be any doubt that Ellis

    knows more about it than Zimbalist



  6. cantonfroggy

    I really do not see the point that Ellis Johnson is making. Is Ellis trying to sell us that he has been underpaid his entire career until now?

    If so, his math skills are way off. If Johnson’s average coaching salary has only been 50k – then in 36 years, he made about $1.8 million.

    The real truth is that from 2000 – 2009 as the DC Alabama, HC at The Citadel, DC at Miss. State and DC at South Carolina, he made about $1.84 million in total salary. Let’s just suppose that Ellis coached for free from 1974 – 1999, even without any additional income, his average per year salary from 1974 – 2009 is $51,100. We all know that Ellis did not coach for free and since college football coaches salaries have typically outpaced those of the average American, I would suspect that Ellis’s average salary over his 36 years is much closer to $100k than $50k.

    For a point of reference, the average household income for all Americans was about $51k as of 2008 and that represented a slight decline from 2006.

    I think the point is being made is valid. At time when the household income of average Americans is declining, these cats are getting raises for 2-3 times their salary. The system is out of whack and probably not sustainable.

    My advice to Johnson and everyone else is to show some humility, be thankful for what you make and do not try to sell us that you have been underpaid.


    • Hogbody Spradlin

      You may have a point, but Johnson’s comments still have traction against the Andrew Zimbalists of the world.


      • Dog in Fla

        Ellis tactfully sums up in two words what could have been said with more effect in three, “It’s capitalism, bitches.”

        I don’t think Zimbalist disagrees.