IS $3 MILLION BLASPHEMOUS SALARY FOR A COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACH? - But We Live In America

(12/18/2007)

By Bob Weaver

It is surely sacrosanct to consider the usurious salaries of football coaches, although college coaches fall in the public domain with the schools supported by taxpayer money and alumni.

In the case of the departing WVU football coach, it's not exactly clear from whence Rich Rodriguez's $2 million salary is funded, an amount which may not include lots of additional benefits and perks.

ESPN is reporting that Michigan's deal hiring Rodriquez away from WVU will average in the range of $2.5 million per year, more than a half-million per year raise from his West Virginia salary.

Four coaches — Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Alabama’s Nick Saban, Florida’s Urban Meyer and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz — already have cracked the $3 million mark, leading a spiral that shows no sign of slowing.

Sports columnists say that at least 42 college football coaches earn $1-million, and 9 get $2-million.

Rodriquez shed tears saying goodbye to his players, according to ESPN.

It is here that I remember the sacrosanct part of this story - the sensitive side of dedicated football fans - declining to write the sentence that popped into my head.

Then I remembered reading that Rodriguez' WVU deal paid little perks here and there, $10,000 if West Virginia sells 30,000 season tickets; $20,000 for 35,000 tickets; and $30,000 for 40,000 tickets.

He has apparently forfeited a few thousand dollars for coaching West Virginia's Fiesta Bowl appearance, with the additional bonuses if the Mountaineers would end up in some high rankings.

That's a pittance.

Rodriguez's WVU contract, which ran through the 2013 season, had a $4 million buyout clause if he left before next September.

Rodriguez had turned down Alabama's reported six-year, $12 million offer after the Mountaineers gave him a one-year contract extension.

Surely American's enjoy paying those who entertain us, and it would seem fair that coaches salaries should rise to the paycheck of movie stars.

Maybe they should rise to the status of corporate CEOs, like former Exxon-Mobil's Lee Raymond, who got $30 million salary and a $400 million golden parachute.

Hey, the sky's the limit for those magic moments of brawn that splash across those 47" LCD TVs with surround sound.

What's a million or two, one way or the other.


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