Insanity: More college TV money means more money for overpaid coaches; salaries up 70 % since 2006

The Big Ten will announce the addition of Rutgers this afternoon as its 14th school. Once again, there will be all sorts of talk about the possible $100 million financial windfall for the conference’s Big Ten Network.

The Big Ten is hardly alone. The shifting college landscape is all about TV money. And who are the big winners?

The coaches. Their salaries are exploding.

In case you missed it, Armen Keteyian documented the insanity of college sports finances last Sunday on 60 Minutes.

USA Today has a report on college football salaries today. From the story:

The average annual salary for head coaches at major colleges (not including four schools that moved up to the Football Bowl Subdivision this season) is $1.64 million, up nearly 12% over last season — and more than 70% since 2006, when USA TODAY Sports began tracking coaches’ compensation.

Coaches’ pay has even outpaced the pay of corporate executives, who have drawn the ire of Congress and the public because of their staggering compensation packages. Between 2007 and 2011, CEO pay — including salary, stock option value, bonuses and other pay — rose 23%, according to Equilar, an executive compensation data firm. In that same period, coaches’ pay increased 44%.

Alabama’s Nick Saban is the highest paid at $5.5 million, and he is one of four Southeastern Conference coaches among the top eight. Texas head coach Mack Brown, of the Big 12, is the second-highest, pulling in $5.4 million.

And then there are assistant coaches. The market is soaring for them as well.

Assistants don’t take pay cuts to come to Clemson these days. The school’s compensation pool for assistants has more than doubled from $1.9 million in 2009 to $4.2 million.

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is the nation’s most highly paid assistant at a public school. Morris makes $1.3 million, more than 10 times what he was getting three years ago as a high school coach in Austin.

“I’m not complaining, not hurting at all,” Morris says.

Brent Venables, Clemson’s defensive coordinator, makes $800,000, almost double what he was making a year ago as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator.

“It’s embarrassing to a certain degree,” Venables says.

More TV money simply means more money for the coaches. The Big Ten has two coaches in the top six in salaries: Ohio State’s Urban Meyer at $4.3 million and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz at $3.83 million.

I don’t want to get into a debate over how much money the coaches bring into the school. I just know colleges still would exist without football coaches. Stadiums still would be full if you knocked a zero off their salaries.

The upcoming college football playoff could generate upwards of $500 million per year in TV money. It would be great if administrators would say, “You know, we’re going to use that money for something else besides paying our football coaches.”

And there’s no chance of that happening. Instead, thanks to the new TV money, the $10 million per year college football coach is just around the corner.






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