Sunday, November 20, 2011
Shameful Coaches and Obscene Salaries
University football coaches have been much in the news recently, and it hasn’t been good news. In fact, it has been downright shameful.
The most widely publicized, of course, is the child-abuse by an assistant coach at Penn State University. The problem, as you know, was not just the abuse of young boys but the lack of preventive or punitive action by the head coach and by the university. Shameful!
And then here in Missouri the arrest of the Missouri University football coach on DUI charges. While certainly not nearly as serious, for a man who is supposed to be a mentor of the young men on his team as well as the larger community to be arrested is a shameful thing also.
But I also find it obscene how most coaches at the major universities are paid such extravagant salaries. A front-page story in the 11/17 USA Today was “Coaches’ pay soars again: Average salary at top schools tops $1.47M.”
In six seasons the average pay for top coaches has increased by nearly 55%—and that in a time of a severe economic recession in society as a whole. The Florida State coach got a raise of around $950,000 last year, after just his first season there. His salary is now $2,750,000.
Thirteen coaches are bringing in salaries of more than three million dollars a year, the highest being the coach at Texas University whose salary is more than $5,000,000!
Part of the problem I see with these exorbitant salaries, is that they are 20-25 times more than the salaries of most university professors, who are doing what a university is supposed to do: teaching students who entered the university to get an education.
I know, a winning sports program not only brings in a lot of money for the university, it also produces a lot of positive publicity for the university. Still . . . .
Speaking of high salaries, many people are now complaining about the high pay for U.S. Congresspersons—and that is probably a legitimate concern. There are now said to be 250 millionaires in Congress, close to 50%. But the salaries of those in Congress don’t come close to being as much as that of football coaches in the major universities across the country.
The pay and long-term benefits of Senators and Representatives may, certainly, be too high. But they are surely not as outrageous as the pay of football coaches. And the men and women in Congress have vastly more important things to make decisions about than, say, whether to go for it on fourth and one. (You football fans will know what that means.)
And those who think Congresspeople trusted with making decisions affecting the well-being of all the citizens of the country as well as the future of the nation are too high surely realize that their pay-scale is modest compared not only to football coaches but also professional athletes, movie stars, TV personalities, and others. (Oprah’s yearly salary is said to be $350M, Dr. Phil’s, $80M, and David Letterman’s, $40M.)
Perhaps it is high time for the USAmerican public to reconsider its priorities. And surely adding a surtax to the income tax of football coaches and other overpaid people in our society is not an outrageous idea.