Terry Bradshaw didn’t mince words when discussing Nick Saban’s contract on the Paul Finebaum Show. Debating the contract extension that Alabama recently tendered the coach with an Alabama super fan, Bradshaw called Saban’s contract “shameful”.
The extension, which will now pay Saban $11.25 million to coach the Crimson Tide next season, makes him one of the highest paid public employees in the country according to USA Today. Notably, Bradshaw took exception to the fact that Saban’s income totals the same amount as the entire athletic program for his alma mater: Louisiana Tech.
“I understand Saban, that’s your coach.” Bradshaw said. “What’s he making, $12 million now? That is the entire athletic budget at Louisiana Tech. The entire budget. That’s shameful! Shameful!”
While his numbers where a little off, the point remains the same. Louisiana Tech’s athletic program operated with a budget of $22 million last season. The fact that Saban is being paid slightly over half of the entire budget for a fellow FBS school is difficult to fathom.
As a disclaimer: who are we to gripe at the size of another mans biscuit? But the size of college football coaching contracts are out of control as a whole. Players are unpaid, while coaches regularly reap in totals in the millions. Saban might be at the top of the totem pole, but he is only the tip of the iceberg.
Unfortunately this is an institutional problem, not an isolated one. The argument can be made that the Crimson Tide have become a regular fixture in the National Championship game year after year under Saban. Due to the amount of money he brings in for the school, $11.25 million is but a drop in the bucket. But one can’t help but wonder how much good could be done if the water in that bucket were used to quench the thirst of those who are needy.
Saban deserves to be well paid for the excellent work he does. How well paid is a matter of conjecture. Fortunately for Saban, the Alabama athletic department is the only one whose opinion actually matters.