So, there’s this.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards believes that multimillion- dollar college football coaching salaries are “obscene” and a cap to limit them should be in place.
Edwards, during a meeting with The Advocate editorial board last week, expressed his concern over escalating staff salaries that have “gotten out of control.” Louisiana’s flagship college football program, LSU, is one of the country’s leaders in football staff spending.
In addition to the 2017’s staff price tag of $9.4 million, the university is paying four staff members who are no longer employed at the school, including a remaining buyout of about $7 million to former coach Les Miles.
The money is generated by the athletic department through private funds, rather than state funds.
“I am concerned. I’m not as concerned as I would be if those were tax dollars being spent,” Edwards said. “I do think that there has to be some look nationally at some sort of salary caps for the organizations. This is an arms race, and it’s gotten out of control. Some of the salaries and buyouts are obscene, and they can create all sorts of problems.
It’s a notion that’s cited approvingly in this SB Nation piece. There’s only one problem: a salary cap imposed on coaches by the NCAA is an antitrust violation. That’s not speculation on my part, either. The NCAA has already lost once on that front.
A Federal jury in Kansas awarded more than $66 million yesterday to 1,900 assistant college coaches whose salaries were found to have been illegally restricted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The penalty, which included more than $22 million in back wages, penalties and legal fees that were tripled under Federal antitrust law, was by far the largest court assessment against the association, which regulates and administers major intercollegiate sports.
The verdict came after five years of often tortuous legal wrangling, in which the coaches contended that a blanket rule imposed by the N.C.A.A. in 1992 to restrict the salaries of certain assistant coaches to $12,000 for an academic year had stifled competition and deprived them of fair market wages.
Whether an individual conference could impose such a restraint legally is a different question, I suppose, given that conferences compete with each other. Maybe Governor Edwards could push Greg Sankey into taking the lead on that. I’m sure it’ll take off quickly.
Let’s face it, folks. The reason coaching salaries continue to rocket skyward isn’t because of Jimmy Sexton. It’s because we’re nuts about college football. All of us. Collectively.