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Forbes: College Football Coaches Aren’t Overpaid

bag of moneyWe’ve gone down this road ourselves a time or two (or three) over the years, but it’s good to see others are in agreement: Good football coaches are worth the millions they are paid.

When it comes to football coaching salaries, yes, they may be too high in the grand scheme of things.  In a perfect world — at least in our view — educators and ministers and social workers and others who dedicate their lives to the well-being and growth of others should be paid more than a guy who draws Xs and Ox on a chalkboard.  But we don’t live in a perfect world.  We live in a world where colleges depend on multi-million dollar football programs for cash and exposure.  Because of that, successful college coaches aren’t overpaid at all.

Tom Van Riper of Forbes Magazine made that case yesterday when writing of Alabama’s Nick Saban:


“If you think that a top college football coach earning seven figures is overpaid, think again.  To appreciate just how modest Saban’s $5.3 million salary is, take a wider look around campus.  Since 2007, Tuscaloosa has swelled its undergraduate ranks by 33% to over 28,000 students.  Faculty count has kept pace: up 400 since 2007 to over 1,700.  But it’s more than growth — it’s where the growth is coming from.  According to the school, less than a third of the 2007 freshman class of 4,538 students hailed from out of state.  By the fall of 2012, more than half (52%) of a freshman class of 6,397 students did.  Various data from US News and The New York Times shows that the school’s out-of-state tuition cost — nearly three times higher than the rate for in-state students — rose from $18,000 to $22,950 a year during that period.

Add it up — more students from outside Alabama paying ever-increasing premium tuition bills — and the school realized $50 million more in out-of-state tuition revenue for last fall’s incoming class than it did for the same class in 2007 ($76 million vs. $26 million).  Kick in the additional $8.5 million in in-state tuition, which rose to $9,200 a year from $6,400 over the same period, and overall tuition revenue rose to $104 million from $46 million for the respective 2012 and 2007 freshman classes.  And to boot, the school’s most recent capital campaign (i.e. donations from alumni and others) raised $600 million for scholarship and facilities, the most ever.”


One can debate whether a school’s mission should be to educate the people of its area or to make more cash by luring in students from elsewhere.  One can also debate how much focus a school should place on athletics.

What’s not up for debate is the fact that successful coaches bring in more money — through increased ticket sales, increased merchandise sales, donations, exposure on national television, etc — than they are paid out.

That’s not just true of football coaches.  While the guys on the gridiron typically earn more, winning basketball coaches like Kentucky’s John Calipari can also up a school’s revenues.  And while a monocled professor of advanced themodynamics or Sanskrit might argue, those increased revenues do aid the school as a whole… not just its athletic department.

With athletics serving as the best advertisement for a school, hiring and paying a successful football or basketball coach is nothing more than an investment of the university’s funds.  Officials at Alabama and Kentucky can tell you that sometimes a big investment can result in big rewards.

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WOW Headlines – 11/8/12

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze on racially-charged student gathering on campus on election night: “We’re our own worst enemy when we do those kind of things.”
Bobby Petrino’s father says his son would be interested in the open Kentucky job and “might take the first job he gets offered.”
Alabama QB AJ McCarron on win over LSU: “The win only means so much if you finish out strong.”
Auburn’s football program has hired a security firm to help enforce curfews
South Carolina coaches say injured RB Marcus Lattimore won’t require more than one surgery on his damaged knee
Tennessee D-coordinator Sal Sunseri: “I’m not disappointed in the kids; I’m disappointed in myself.”
A telethon led by Kentucky’s John Calipari raised at least $500,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief
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Hoops Coaches: UK’s Calipari and UF’s Donovan Tops Among Rule-Benders

Bend, but don’t break.

In the latest installment of’s multi-part survey of anonymous college basketball coaches, the question was simple: “Which coach is best at bending the rules but not breaking them?”

Unfortunately for Mike Slive and his ongoing attempts to clean up the SEC’s reputation, two of his conference’s coaches topped the list — Kentucky’s John Calipari was named by 13% of the “nearly 100 coaches” polled while Florida’s Billy Donovan was mentioned by 11%.

Sean Miller (Arizona), Tom Crean (Indiana), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Roy Williams (North Carolina), Tom Izzo (Michigan State) and Josh Pastner (Memphis) all were mentioned by at least 5% of the respondents.

One coach said of Calipari: “Everyone says he cheats, but when has he been caught?”  Wildcat fans will be quick to shout that that might just mean he doesn’t break or bend rules at all.

As for Donovan, one unnamed coach stated: “Billy is, or at least he used to be, the best.  He’s the one who came up with the idea of elite camps.  He’s just really smart.  He knows how to get things done.”

Naturally, this isn’t a list most coaches would want to make.  But it’s better than making a rule-breaker list.

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Oriakhi To Meet with UK’s Calipari Today

Jeff Goodman of tweeted earlier today that the first stop on the transfer tour of UConn big man Alex Oriakhi will be a date with the national champs:

“Kentucky’s John Calipari expected to meet with UConn transfer Alex Oriakhi today.  Oriakhi has one year left and can play immediately.”

As previously noted, he could play immediately if he enrolls in a major not offered by UConn and if the SEC grants him a waiver.  Both are likely to happen if Kentucky (or Missouri) is his final choice.

Oriakhi can play immediately because of NCAA sanctions against UConn.

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UK’s Calipari Disappointed By SEC’s Lack Of NCAA Bids

All season, Kentucky’s John Calipari has tried to pump up the reputation of the SEC.  He’s said good things about one rival program after another.  The simple explanation?  Talking up the SEC helps his own program when it comes to national reputation and discussions of schedule strength.

But already in the NCAA Tournament as the overall #1 seed, there was no longer a need for Coach Cal to praise his leaguemates on today’s SEC coaches’ teleconference.  But he continued to do so:

“I was sick to my stomach when Mississippi State lost, I was sick to my stomach when Tennessee lost, because then I felt Mississippi was gonna have to beat Vandy to get in.  I felt Tennessee, if they had won that (Ole Miss) game, they would have been in.  Some of it falls on us coaches, we have to take care of business, and there are games our teams have to got to win.

The things Tennessee did all year, I’m still convinced they are an NCAA team.”

When you’re so supremely confident that your program is the untouchable best in the SEC — and these past three years, Calipari’s has been — you can probably afford to speak very well of others.  Let’s face it, he’s not had to worry too much about recruiting battles with his rival SEC coaches since taking over in Lexington.  So there’s no reason not to pat ‘em on the back.

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SEC Headlines – 2/3/12 Part Two

1.  Alabama’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament are still pretty good.

2.  This writer says Arkansas signee Darius Philon was more committed to Bama than Bama’s coaches were to him.

3.  Along those lines, this scribe says Gene Chizik showed more class on signing day than Nick Saban did.

4.  The price tag for Arkansas’ new football complex will top $40 million.

5.  The hoops Razorbacks will take part in the 2013 Maui Invitational.

6.  LSU’s Malcolm White sent letters of apology to Kentucky’s John Calipari and Anthony Davis for this flagrant foul he committed last Saturday:

7.  The Ole Miss basketball team is starting to develop an offensive personality.

8.  MSU is rested and refreshed with Auburn coming to town tomorrow.

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NCAA Officiating Coordinator Makes It Clear UK’s Calapari Isn’t Up To Speed On The Block/Charge Rule

Yesterday we told you that Kentucky’s John Calipari was upset with the way officials were handling block/charge calls in Wildcat games.  For the season, UK has gotten nine charge calls to go their way… while they’ve been whistled for charging 39 times.  No wonder the coach was upset:

“If I’m in the act of shooting, but I haven’t left my feet, can (the defender) then slide in there,” Calipari asked.  “Because that’s what they’re doing.”

Well, uh, yeah.  The defender can.

Speaking to The Lexington Herald-Leader yesterday, John Adams — the NCAA national men’s basketball officiating coordinator — said what Coach Cal described could be “a legal defender.”

“Most people will tell you, ‘He was moving!’  It’s irrelevant. … There’s no standard of being set at the time of the contact.

To draw a charge, all a defender has to do is face his opponent (and) have both feet on the floor for an instant.  After which, he can move to maintain legal guarding position.”

According to Adams, the defender can move left, right or backward depending on the movement of the ball-handler.  He cannot, however, move forward into the man with the ball. 

Adams has more to say about the block/charge call here… and it’s an interesting read. 

But regardless of the rule itself we still believe that when a block/charge goes in your team’s favor it’s a good call.  When it goes against your team, it’s bad call.  Pretty simple in our view.

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Martin Can See UT In NCAA Tourney

After a hard fought win over Tennessee on Saturday, Kentucky’s John Calipari said the Vols are an NCAA Tournament-caliber team.  With his team’s defense improving and the recent addition of freshman hotshot Jarnell Stokes, Cuonzo Martin doesn’t disagree:

“Like I told our guys from Florida (an upset win) up until now, you say (we’re) one of the 65 or 68 teams, I would say, yes.  But you have to put a lot of work to cover some ground.  I would definitely say from teh time we started league play up until now, when you pick 65 or 33, 35 (at-large) teams, I would say, yes.”

Unfortunately, Martin’s team took some time to gel and to start believing in the coach’s defense-first mantra.  The Vols are just 8-9 overall with some pretty bad losses on the ol’ resume (Austin Peay at home, for example).

To reach the NCAA tourney, UT would likely need to upset Connecticut this week and then grab 11 SEC wins to reach the 20-win plateau.  Good defense or not, that seems like too much ground for Martin’s squad to make up.

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SEC Headlines – 1/16/12 Part Two

1.  Florida may be moving up in the polls, but Billy Donovan is worried that Patric Young has been limited by an ankle injury.

2.  Will Muschamp likes what he’s seeing out of new offensive coordinator Brent Pease as a recruiter.

3.  It’s been 51 games since Kentucky allowed a team to shoot better than 50% from the floor.  (Considering the youth at UK the last two years, that kind of defensive buy-in is truly an amazing feat.)

4.  Steve Spurrier gives as short a comment on the hiring of running backs coach Everette Sands as you’ll ever find in a press release.

5.  Kentucky’s John Calipari was impressed by what he saw of Tennessee on Saturday…

6.  And the arrival of impressive freshman Jarnell Stokes is helping the Vols’ chemistry.

7.  The Vanderbilt football program has pieces to build on in 2012.

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Calipari Not A Fan Of An 18-Game League Schedule

Now that the 2012 SEC football schedule has been unveiled, discussion will start to swirl around next season’s basketball schedule (as well as the new football plan to be launched in 2013).  Having just done away with divisions this season, the league is even considering a return to that in the future.

Most believe the league will expand its current 16-game conference slate whether divisions return or not.  Kentucky’s John Calipari is in the group that expects an 18-game schedule to be launched.  And if it’s 18, he doesn’t like it:

“We don’t get as many non-conference games.  You just added two Top 20 teams (to the SEC).  Missouri hasn’t lost a game.  Texas A&M, historically, you know what they’ve done in basketball.  We’ve just gotten stronger.

If you look at all the Top 25 programs right now, we’re playing one of those schedules.  Can you play all these road games, can you do all this stuff and add two Top 25s?  We’ve got to make decisions on our schedule and how we’re going to do this without overloading our players or putting the program in jeopardy.”

We understand where Calipari is coming from — coaches like having the ability to line up some pre-Christmas cupcakes.  Everyone does it.  But in this case, Coach Cal seems to be exaggerating the dangers of moving from 16 games to 18 (if that’s what the SEC eventually does).

“Can you play all these road games,” the coach asked.  Well, technically, each school would only add one road game.  Instead of playing eight league foes at home and eight on the road, in an 18-game world the split would be nine at home and nine away.  That’s hardly a backbreaker.

Oh, and the guy below?  He’s 18 and he does like it.

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