Are College Football Coaches Paid Too Much?


Every year college football coaches are fired, retired or leave for better paying opportunities. Keeping a coach at a school for the long haul is a difficult task for College footballparticularly those with programs not considered to be in the top tier. Even the best programs will fire a coach if he doesn’t live up to expectations as a 9-3 season can be a major disappointment for fans. Getting to a bowl game isn’t always good enough — a BCS bid with a shot at the national championship is what is expected at some schools.

Earlier this month, USA Today ran an article titled, “College Football Coaches Calling Lucrative Play,” which discussed the salaries of major college football coaches. For the first time the average salary of big time program coaches has topped $1 million annually, a 9% increase over the previous year. This amount doesn’t include other perks which can include a housing allowance, car, country club membership and more.

Salaries continue to rise as competition for top notch coaches heats up. One college, fearing that their ace coach will leave, will offer a huge raise and extend the coach’s contract by several years. Another college will scour the coaching ranks and offer a successful coach at a smaller program the chance to go big time and lure him away from his school (Navy’s Paul Johnson recently left the military academy to become Georgia Tech’s new coach).

Four coaches have cracked the $3 million annual salary mark with 50 coaches now making at least $1 million annually. On the other hand, few college presidents are making more than $500,000 annually leading some to question the reasoning behind paying coaches so well. Given that alumni support is imperative to the success of so many schools, a losing football program (or basketball) could mean that those funds could be withheld or cut back.

I’m not one to advocate that the NCAA step in and regulate salaries, but I must confess that the monies being paid to retain some coaches could possibly be used elsewhere. It isn’t just salaries and perks that put pressure on universities — most successful coaches want facilities expanded or built to attract the recruits who can help their programs stay strong or improve. In that case the stadium upgrades amounting to tens of millions of dollars is yet another cost universities must take into consideration.


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Categories: NCAA Football