If only our institutes of higher learning put as much emphasis, effort and financial investment into their academic departments as they do into their football “programs”. $9.3 million in annual salary for a football coach? Really?
Are there anywhere professors who earn even a fractional smidgen of that amount? Where are our priorities? Is the “commitment to consistently winning at a championship level” really at the top of that list?
Lawrence S. Nagle
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Dr Nagle's letter on the over-emphasis on big time college sports is certainly well taken. I would add a few points to his thoughts:
1. Every big time college sport program is funded by ticket sales, TV revenue and contributions, not taxpayer funds.
2. Sports do provide an opportunity for faculty, students and alumni to come together at a common event.
3. There is no doubt that the recognition athletics brings to a school results in additional revenue , increased applications and publicity. It's hard to put a dollar figure on receiving four hours of publicity on national television.
There is no doubt though that even with these positives the perception of over-emphasis is not a pretty picture. Alabama just won the National Championship. According to US News the state is #50 in education and 49 in quality of life. LSU won the NC last year. The state of Louisiana is 50 in quality of life and 49 in education. One could certainly make the argument that their priorities are somewhat out of whack.
With the advent of legislation and the COVID pandemic the one certainty is that college sports will never be the same. It will be interesting to see how the chips fall in the coming years.
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It might surprise you to know that college athletics brought in over $177 million in revenue for Alabama in 2018. Granted that is not profit but college athletics is a big generator for funding other projects and activities around campus and beyond. I can only guesstimate that a very large portion of that was from the football program and yes winning is a large part of that to maintain booster support.
So while Nick Saban has been a thorn in in almost every other teams fan base for years, he gets the job done in a very profitable business and can name his price.
The bottom line is while $9.3 million seems high to the average Joe, the majority of fans, boosters, students and financials would probably beg to differ.