We are a part of a day in age where the main argument is whether or not collegiate athletes should receive more compensation than simply education. The focus is on how much school’s are taking advantage of these young athletes to generate profits for the schools.
However, during all of the debates and arguments, there is one glaring issue that needs attention: the obtuse amount of money that is being thrown at coaches NOT to coach their teams.
When hiring their next prospective coach, schools are promising lucrative, multi-year deals to men who have proven nothing. When a coach fails to produce at the levels a program hopes for, they are replaced. While you can dismiss a coach, you cannot dismiss a contract. Being forced to buy out contracts is leaving massive holes in athletic financials that could be used to benefit these athletes.
Auburn University: Tommy Tuberville – $5.1 million ($3 million within thirty days of termination); Gene Chizik – $7.5 million ($11.09 paid in total)
University of Tennessee: Philip Fulmer – $6 million; Derek Dooley – $5 million
Houston Nutt has received over $9 million in buy-outs from the University of Arkansas and the University of Mississippi
Charle Weis will have received just under $25 million in buy-outs from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Kansas
These six coaches combined were paid about $57.6 million to NOT coach. Forget Nick Saban making $6.9 million or Urban Meyer making $6.5 million; the problem is not the overpaying of coaches, the problem is the depth of these contracts.
Promising four or five year deals to a man who has yet to meet with your team is absolutely ludicrous. Some of them work out, most of them do not.
Since the end of the 2014-15 college football season, there have been fifteen new coaching hires. many contracts ranging from (did you guess it?) four to five years, with some having even longer lengths. The issue here is not that athletic departments are placing trust into their hires. The problem is that the NCAA is happier with grown men being paid gross amounts of money to sit on their couches, rather than young men make any type of wage (while representing the NCAA).
Personally, I have no real opinion about whether or not students should be paid a larger stipend than they currently have to help make-up for what they do.
Imagine though, if these schools decided that instead of promising over-the-top contracts, and gave a longer contract once it was earned, how much money would be available to those earning it.
Taking Philip Fulmer’s four-year buy-out of $6 million (shown above), the money that would be available to help struggling students. Using a base 100-player roster, that $6 million could be turned into $15,000/year for each player over those four years. We can discuss the morality of paying students, and whether or not they are making the most of using their education; however, this is not about whether or not athletes should be paid, this is about the disgusting amount of money coaches are being paid to not coach.
Collegiate athletic departments and the NCAA are happier to pay a grown man to do nothing, rather than repay the athletes who are giving up years of their life to wear their school’s logo.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports